By Hudson Crozier
What happened: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer remarked that her COVID-19 lockdowns, in hindsight, “don’t make a lot of sense” in a CNN interview earlier this month. “Some of those policies, I look back and think, ‘That was maybe a little more than we needed to do,’” she said.
What did she do? Whitmer imposed some of the strictest and lengthiest lockdowns in the country. She forced businesses to suspend in-person services for months before allowing them to open with limited capacity; kept “nonessential” workers at home; closed casinos, stadiums, and theaters; and limited various public gatherings. Her rules were so extensive that actions such as operating a motorboat and selling paint in a 50,000-square-foot store became criminal. She also banned in-person schooling for K-12 and college students.
The impact: While failing to prevent multiple spikes in COVID cases and some of the highest rates of death per capita, Whitmer’s lockdowns upended the lives of Michigan residents. Thousands of businesses closed permanently. Residents were forced to attend online or drive-by funerals for loved ones. And her closure of schools contributed to the drop in reading and math proficiency across the country that erased two decades of progress.
Why it matters: Whitmer, like countless other politicians, publicly broke COVID rules, such as when she sat at a restaurant with double the number of non-socially-distanced guests allowed under her own executive order. These actions and her flippant remarks to CNN highlight the carelessness of America’s COVID response: Elites imposed unprecedented restrictions on the population, failed to justify them scientifically, flaunted them, and now admit they were unreasonable from the start.