Your daily COVID-19 briefing: 924 new cases, 17 deaths

Michigan

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — State health officials today are reporting 924 new cases and 17 deaths due to the coronavirus in Michigan.

Of the 17 deaths, nine were identified in a vital records review.

The report comes the same day Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the launch of a program offering tuition-free college to an estimated 625,000 Michiganders.

Those people include those who provided essential, frontline services during COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April – June 2020.

Futures for Frontliners, inspired by the GI Bill which provided college degree to those serving their country in WWII, offers Michigan adults without college degrees or high school diplomas who provided essential services during the pandemic a tuition-free pathway to gaining the skills needed to obtain high-demand, high-wage careers.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must:

  • Be a Michigan resident
  • Have worked in an essential industry at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 – June 30, 2020
  • Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 – June 30, 2020
  • Not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
  • Not be in default on a Federal student loan
  • Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 p.m., Dec. 31, 2020

Frontline workers are encouraged to visit www.michigan.gov/Frontliners to explore career opportunities, a list of local community colleges and get started on their application – even if they don’t already have a high school diploma.

As students return to school and athletics take place, Governor Whitmer issued a new Executive Order clarifying the rules on face masks for sports during training, practice, and competition.  

Executive Order 2020-180 specifies that a face covering must be worn at all times by athletes training for, practicing for, or competing in an organized sport when the athlete cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance, except for occasional and fleeting moments.

When asked about the science used to back the Executive Order at a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said that there is some data but no proof that respiratory rates could potentially increase while exercising with a mask.

“But we do not have any proof that someone cannot exercise (with a mask) and if they can’t quite frankly, then maybe they won’t be able to participate at this time,” Dr. Khladun said.

Athletes are not required to wear a face covering if they are swimming. Athletes competing in football, soccer, or volleyball, for example, are not able to maintain 6 feet of social distance as required and therefore would need to wear a facial covering.  

“The COVID-19 virus is easily spread through airborne particles and can affect everyone differently. By wearing a face covering when proper distancing is not possible, athletes will be better protected from contracting the virus and spreading it to family members, frontline workers, and vulnerable populations,” said Governor Whitmer. 

To view Executive Order 2020-180, click the link below:  

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