The state of Michigan now has the 3rd highest number of Wuhan coronavirus cases in the nation. On April 2, the number of COVID19 cases in Michigan reached 10,791, with 417 deaths. At least 1 person in every county in Michigan has tested positive for COVID19.
Unfortunately, Michigan’s governor, who is rumored to be a top pick for Joe Biden’s VP, is spending a great deal of time promoting herself as a strong Democrat woman who can take on the president. Last week, during an interview with MSNBC, Governor Whitmer accused President Trump of a “mind-boggling” response to the coronavirus. When President Trump was asked about her comment during one of his daily coronavirus press briefings, the president referred to Whitmer as “That woman from Michigan,” and suggested that she should be more grateful for all of the incredible work being performed by his team.
Only days after her criticism of President Trump and the federal government, FEMA revealed that Governor Whitmer had not yet requested a major disaster declaration for the coronavirus, that would allow FEMA to start helping her state, while seven states, many of whom had not been hit nearly as hard as Michigan, had already been declared major disasters.
The problem with Whitmer, is most Michiganders, including myself, aren’t interested in her self-promotions. We want to know that every ounce of our governor’s energy is focused on helping Michigan citizens, whose health and financial well-being are under attack by an invisible enemy.
So, how does the governor of Michigan handle such a crisis? On Wednesday, Governor Whitmer appeared on The Daily Show, with well- known Trump-hating host Trevor Noah, sporting a “That Woman From Michigan” t-shirt. Whitmer, who was clearly trying to embarrass the president by wearing the t-shirt, repeatedly claimed she doesn’t have time for politics.
Frustrated Michigan citizens who are trying to file for unemployment benefits online are now blasting the governor for a website that is crashing or a call center that hangs up when they finally get through.
The Detroit Free Press reports – State officials have asked Michiganders to be patient as they try to make adjustments to an unemployment system that is overwhelmed, but, as Michigan’s public health crisis turns into an economic one, patience is running out.
Kathy Mooradian said Wednesday, she had enough.
After days of trying to file for unemployment online, then all day trying to call in her claim, she concluded in a fit of frustration, “our governor doesn’t give a hoot about any of us.”
Labor officials respond that it’s not a matter of indifference, it’s the situation. Michigan’s unemployment claims ending March 28 topped 311,000, more than doubling from 128,000 the week before.
Whitmer briefly talked Thursday morning about the challenges with the unemployment claims, saying, that her stay-at-home order has “weighed heavily” on her and acknowledged that the system is overwhelmed.
It’s not that the unemployment system is entirely broken.
Many states are handling an unprecedented number of claims, and, in Michigan, many claims are going through without any problems, filers acknowledged. It helps that Michiganders can file online at any time — day or night.
The problem, however, comes in when a caller encounters a glitch or has a question.
Mooradian, for instance, said she was able to log on, but as she was filing, something went wrong with the automated system. As a result, it told her to call in her claim, but that’s when things started to go wrong.
On Tuesday, the state’s site, which had slowed to a crawl, crashed for nearly two hours before it was restored.
Another issue that the state said was causing problems was the MILogin, the way into the system for a range of services, couldn’t process the 25,000 transactions per hour that were coming in. Officials said it seemed to be corrected.
To the state’s credit, it has been trying to adjust to a rapidly changing public health crisis in which the number of sick and dead are rising exponentially, and to stop the spread of the virus, businesses have been shut down and folks are out of work.
But, right now, Mooradian — and many other frustrated Michiganders — don’t want explanations. She said she wants “the damn 800-number” fixed, a twist on the governor’s campaign catchphrase: “Fix the damn roads.
Then the unemployment line, she said, “cannot complete my call, is too busy sometimes it answers and I get to press 1, then it just hangs up,” she said. “This has happened over 100 times.”
Paul Bedich, 55, of South Lyon said he feels like public officials keep saying that help is on the way, but his frustration is the system to get that help doesn’t seem to be working.
When he goes online, it tells him to call. When he calls, it tells him to go online.
“Everybody’s telling you there’s money out there, and you’re already heightened with frustration and worry,” Bedich said. “They tell you there’s a path, you go down the path and you find the path is a loop.”
Perhaps Michigan’s governor should spend a little less time criticizing President Trump as a way to promote herself and her future political ambitions and focus instead on the citizens of Michigan who desperately need their health care and financial needs addressed.