Maybe the American frenzy began on Jan. 11 when China announced the first death to the coronavirus, or maybe it was on Jan. 21 when the first confirmed case in the United States appeared in the state of Washington. Whenever it began, many measures have been put into place to condemn the spread of the new and infectious virus that is sweeping the nation and to help those affected.
West Virginia was the first to close schools for “as long as necessary” on Thursday, Mar. 12. Many states followed, including Michigan, which closed schools beginning Mar. 16 until Apr. 6. The first cases of covid-19 in Michigan were found on Mar. 10, which was also when Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency. Currently, there are entire state school shut-downs for every state in America, with the exception of Iowa, Maine, and Nebraska, who have closures depending on the school district or level.
Looking specifically at Michigan, on Mar. 16, Governor Whitmer ordered the closure of “all bars and restaurants dine-in, gyms, coffee houses, and most public places,” as well as banned the gathering of 50 or more people. All hair salons and related places were closed on Mar. 21, and two days later, all nonessential workers were placed on lockdown for at least the following three weeks due to the stay-at-home order.
The President approved Michigan’s disaster declaration on Mar. 28, which made federal funding available to affected people in need of crisis counseling. As of Mar. 29, there are 5,524 confirmed cases of the covid-19 virus in Michigan, with deaths totaling at 132. Nationwide, cases have reached 140,904 and deaths have reached 2,405, according to the C.D.C.
Looking from a financial standpoint, the virus is quite harmful to those who are nonessential workers and are now out of work, thus not receiving pay. The federal government has put $2.2 trillion towards the outbreak; each individual that makes $75,000 a year or less will receive a $1,200 check from the U.S. Treasury, and individuals making between $75,000 and $99,000 a year will receive a reduced check. Married couples will also receive $500 for each child they have. The basis for who will receive relief will be 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Unemployment benefits have also been raised from $300 per week for 26 weeks to the same amount for 39 weeks; gig and freelance workers would also be eligible for unemployment payout.
The quick spread of the virus has struck hysteria and, for some strange reason, a shortage of toilet paper, but there are many steps that one can take to prevent the expansion of the coronavirus. Social distancing is being urged in the state of Michigan by the stay-at-home order, which aims to keep people away from each other. Staying 6 feet away from others is a positive preventative measure, as the infectious disease spreads from person-to-person. Protecting yourself and others is as simple as washing your hands and staying away from others, as well as staying home if you are sick and covering your coughs and sneezes.
As the covid-19 situation continues, more information is being released as Governor Whitmer holds press conferences to reveal information and plans for Michigan to handle the pandemic. During a press conference Monday morning, Governor Whitmer said that the plan for the rest of the school year will be announced later this week.