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New variant of COVID-19 making its way across Michigan, could thwart state's plans

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nov. 5, 2020 photo
Associated Press
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state health officials say they are very concerned about a new variant of COVID-19 that’s been found in Michigan. Thirteen cases of the variant have been identified in Washtenaw County, and four in Wayne County. The variant spreads more easily. And that means more infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are possible, health officials say. 

Governor Whitmer says the cautious re-opening of some sectors has been possible because earlier restrictions have worked.

“But we are also very mindful of the fact that this variant is now here in Michigan and it poses a very real threat,” Whitmer said. 

The Legislature’s GOP leaders have pressed for more and faster re-openings. The governor says she won’t bargain about health and safety measures in exchange for Senate action on her appointments. That includes her new health and human services director, who is in charge of the state’s COVID response.

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