BlazeTV host Steven Crowder will host a rally in Michigan to demand answers from the state government on how many lives COVID-19 claimed in senior care facilities.
Crowder announced Monday that the first 1,000 people to attend his rally at noon ET Friday at the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing will get a "How Many Seniors?" sign. He wants to organize activists to pressure Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to release data on nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic.
I’ll be in Michigan Oct. 2nd, demanding answers on Gretchen Whitmer’s disastrous COVID nursing home policy. First 1… https://t.co/818z1iiJIh— Steven Crowder (@Steven Crowder)1601301947.0
The COVID-19 death toll in all categories of long-term care facilities in Michigan remains a mystery. Although the state has reportedly been collecting data on coronavirus deaths since May 29, Michigan has not reported all of its data as other states have.
At the onset of the pandemic, Whitmer, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), issued an executive order requiring nursing home facilities at less than 80% capacity to take in coronavirus patients. While her policy required infected residents to be housed in separate wings and attended by different staff than healthy residents, state inspections revealed that did not happen.
In June, the state reported that 1,947 nursing home residents and 20 staff members died of COVID-19. Those deaths account for one-third of all virus deaths in Michigan. It is not clear how many of those individuals were quarantined in nursing homes under Whitmer's coronavirus policies.
The Trump administration's Department of Justice has requested nursing home data from four states, including Michigan and New York, as part of an investigation into their nursing home policies and executive orders requiring nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients into their facilities. The DOJ is seeking reports on the number of people nursing homes in these states admitted from a hospital or other medical facility after testing positive for COVID-19.
The federal government also wants data on the number of residents, employees, and visitors of public nursing homes who contracted the virus, without regard to where they contracted it, and how many of those individuals died.
"Protecting the rights of some of society's most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country's most important obligations," Eric Dreiband, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. "We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk."
Whitmer and Cuomo accused the Trump administration of politicizing their policies in a joint statement released in August after the DOJ made its request.
"It is an inarguable fact that the United States has had the worst response to the COVID-19 virus of any nation in the world. Nearly 7 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200,000 Americans have been killed by it — both more than any other country. The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government's deceit, political self-dealing, and incompetence," they asserted.
"Rather than turning to the advice and direction of public health experts and career public servants, President Trump instead put the health and security of the American people in the hands of political appointees whose first priority was securing the reelection of their benefactor, with predictably tragic results," the governors added.
Crowder's rally will feature new evidence, data, and testimony on nursing home deaths in Michigan, along with public demands that Whitmer release the full data available on these avoidable deaths.