A million Michigan residents stopped staying home after Whitmer extended lockdown, data shows

Chris White, DCNF 

Michigan residents went out more last week, according to cell phone data reported by The New York Times, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay-at-home executive order May 1 to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Approximately one million more people began to move around the state between May 1 and May 8, to move around the state again, The NYT reported.

The number of people who stayed home dropped nearly 11 percentage points during the first week of May compared to the prior six weeks, when half of the state’s residents sheltered in place, The NYT’s analysis showed.

Whitmer began instituting lockdowns in March to slow the novel coronavirus, and stressed the stay-at-home orders again Monday.

“These executive orders are not a suggestion,” Whitmer, a Democrat, said Monday during a press conference addressing her May 1 decision to extend the state’s lockdowns until May 28. “They’re not optional. They’re not helpful hints,” she said when reporters asked about people doubting her authority to implement the orders.

More than 4,600 people in Michigan have reportedly died from the virus as of May 12, according to state data. Michigan is one of 27 states under lockdown. Ten states have begun to reopen from lockdown orders so far.

Critics have railed against Whitmer’s decrees. A wave of protesters stormed the Michigan legislature in Lansing, some armed with rifles, demanding Whitmer ease up on the restrictions.

Location data from other sources also show people getting back to their lives in some form.

People were back to visiting gas stations and fast food restaurants at pre-COVID-19 levels, according to an April 30 blog post from Foursquare, a location technology platform.

Foursquare’s data showed people were bucking some guidelines. Gas stations, for instance, were down only 6% nationally as of April 24, compared to 8-11% lower in weeks prior, Foursquare noted.

Many Americans may still be worried about An NBC News poll published in April found that Roughly 60% of voters say they are more concerned that nixing lockdowns would lead to more deaths than they are that the restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy.

Whitmer’s office has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on The NYT’s analysis.

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