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Lawsuit in Michigan seeks COVID nursing home death data, comparing Whitmer to Cuomo

'It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to obtain this critical data,' Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and think tank leader say in suit.

Updated: March 21, 2021 - 1:34pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Pulitzer-winning journalist and a think tank leader have filed a lawsuit seeking to compel Michigan to disclose the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, comparing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's actions to those taken by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"This case deals with a matter of tremendous public importance, namely the need for transparency in connection with the state of Michigan's COVID-19 response," said the suit filed this month by journalist Charlie LeDuff and Steve Delie of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The suit said there are "significant similarities" between Whitmer's decision to send COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes and those taken by Cuomo in New York, that have ben widely panned and now are under investigation.

"The need for transparency in this particular area has already been established in another state thanks to recent revelations that New York Gov Andrew Cuomo's administration had intentionally withheld data from disclosure," it argued.

The plaintiffs further explained their reasons for suing in an OpEd published Friday in USA Today.

"It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to obtain this critical data," they wrote. "Gov. Whitmer made the same policy choice as Gov. Cuomo, forcing contagious senior citizens into close proximity with other medically vulnerable people. In fact, her policy, a similar version of which is still in effect today, went even farther, forcing some non-senior patients into nursing homes, including a 20-year-old. Michigan citizens deserve to know why she did this, and whether our governor is telling the truth about the consequences."

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