“If we all do our part and simply stay home, we have a shot,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said at a news conference from her office at the State Capitol on Monday, citing a study that projected that 70 percent of Michigan’s 10 million residents could become infected if nothing changed. Already, she said, the state had gone from zero cases to more than 1,000 in less than two weeks.
“This disease can’t spread person-to-person if we’re not out there,” she said, adding: “The goal here is simple: Stay home, stay safe, save lives.”
Ms. Whitmer, who is among a handful of Democratic governors who have exchanged jabs with President Trump over the virus, said the action was necessary, in part, because of a lack of response from the federal government.
“Without a comprehensive national strategy, we, the states, must take action,” she said.
A cascade of other states issued similar instructions in recent days. Instructions for residents to stay at home will soon cover more than 100 million Americans in at least 12 states, including California, Illinois and New York. Many states also ordered all nonessential businesses to close.
In Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, a Republican, emphasized that an advisory to stay at home did not amount to home confinement. “I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their home for days on end,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view, and it’s not realistic.”
In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz said he would be self-quarantining at home for 14 days after a member of his security detail had tested positive for the virus on Sunday night. Mr. Walz was not experiencing any symptoms, but had been in “close proximity to this individual late last week,” a statement from his office said.