State Watch

Midwest governors release video underscoring the importance of social distancing, masks as cases spike

Midwestern governors joined forces in a video released Tuesday calling on Americans in the region to continue following health and safety protocols during the holidays as coronavirus cases spike in their states and across the country. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), along with fellow Democratic Govs. Andy Beshear (Ky.), Tony Evers (Wis.), J.B. Pritzker (Ill.) and Tim Walz (Minn.), as well as Republican Govs. Mike DeWine (Ohio) and Eric Holcomb (Ind.), emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks, social distance and prevent large gatherings to curb the spread of infections during the winter months and upcoming holidays. 

“As we head into the holiday season and the cold winter months, we wanted to take a moment to talk to families in our region about how you can protect your loved ones and our front-line workers, as well as our small business owners, from COVID-19 and the pandemic,” Whitmer began in the video shared on Twitter

“Right now, cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the Midwest and really, all across the country,” Beshear adds. “And as the weather gets colder and more people head inside, it will get worse.” 

Evers said that there is medical progress in the form of a vaccine after Pfizer announced last week that its candidate showed to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 in preliminary data. 

Moderna has since announced this week that its candidate has a 94.5 percent efficacy rate, according to interim data. 

“This is great news, but it doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down and loosen the safety measures we have made in our daily lives,” Pritzker said. 

DeWine follows, saying, “It’s more important now than ever that we double down on mask wearing and physical distancing to help more people get through the winter and protect the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this crisis.” 

Holcomb tells viewers that “it’s crucial that we keep our infection rate low so we can distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible when it’s ready.” 

“We must remember that when the vaccine is ready, it will take time to distribute, and we need everyone to continue doing their part to protect each other from COVID-19,” Walz added. 

With Thanksgiving coming up, public health experts and state leaders across the country have urged Americans to alter their traditional holiday plans.

Beshear argued that “getting together with your family via Zoom to ensure your loved ones stay safe is the right thing to do.” 

“When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team,” Whitmer says, with each governor then telling their residents to “mask up.” 

As of Tuesday, the United States has recorded a total of about 11.2 million confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 247,000 deaths as a result of the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

Midwestern states have been hit especially hard in recent months, prompting governors to reimpose restrictions on gatherings and other activities. 

Last week, DeWine reissued a statewide mask mandate and said in an address to residents that Ohio hospitals could be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases in “just a few short weeks.”

Whitmer, despite continued criticism and calls to reopen from President Trump and his allies, issued a new order to take effect Wednesday that bars and in-person classes for high school and college students, as well as shuts down dine-in service for restaurants and other indoor venues.

Tags Andy Beshear coronavirus covid-19 coronavirus restrictions Donald Trump Eric Holcomb Gretchen Whitmer Illinois Indiana J.B. Pritzker Johns Hopkins University Kentucky mask mandates Michigan Mike DeWine Minnesota Ohio social distance Tim Walz Tony Evers Wisconsin

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