'We're all building the airplane as we fly it': Michigan governor on COVID-19 response

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed on “This Week” and discusses her state’s response to COVID-19.
4:17 | 03/22/20

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Transcript for 'We're all building the airplane as we fly it': Michigan governor on COVID-19 response
Let's turn now to Michigan, at least 790 confirmed cases. Governor Gretchen Whitmer joins me now. Good morning, governor. You just heard governor Murphy explain why he issued that stay at home order. The governor of Illinois has done the same. Is something similar under consideration for Michigan? Well, we've been very aggressive. I was one of the first to cancel school, we moved forward with closing restaurants and bars pretty much at the same pace of my fellow governor Phil Murphy and governor Mike dewine, Republican from Ohio as well. We're continuing to analyzing and determining what our next move is. The fact of the matter is, we're continuing to see these numbers go up exponentially. The problem that we have right now is, we don't have enough test kits. I heard your conversation with the man from FEMA, we need test kits, because these numbers are informative to only to a certain extent. We know that covid-19 has infected a lot more people than just those who are being tested and testing positive. And that's why in order to make decisions, we really need better data. We're all building the airplane as we fly it right now. We're doing the best that we can. We'll continue to be aggressive and continually monitoring what our next move. But we need the federal government to get us those test kits. We need ppes as Phil was just saying. We need clear directive and guidance from the federal government. Frankly, a patchwork strategy of each state doing what they can, you know, we'll do it if we have to. But it would be nice to have a national strategy. Given these urgent needs and the virus is spreading rapidly, Michigan is up to 790 confirmed cases. Why not get ahead of this? Well, we have been very aggressive. As I said, we're looking at and analyzing what's happening here in Michigan and we're always going to be aggressive. And make the best decisions base on the facts as we have them. My team is meeting 24/7. Trust me, we are continually trying to determine what we need to do to keep people safe and to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. You said that you don't think the federal government did proper planning, how much of a difference do you think the recent measures, purchasing those n95 masks will make? I mean, we got to have those masks. I am working with companies to purchase masks as a state. Had the federal government really started focusing when it became clear that the whole world was going to be confronting this, we would be a stronger position right now and that's an issue I'm not going to be belabor because I got to keep solving problems and I would like the federal government to be a partner, I can't afford to have a fight with the white house, but the fact of the matter is, at some point, we'll have to analyze where all the failures were and make decisions on what happened and what didn't happen. Lives will be lost because we weren't prepared. Our economy will struggle longer and there will be consequences of that. But right now, I got to solve problems and I need the federal government to help me make sure that we got for our frontline providers but also ventilators for people who are going to suffer. What do you think the situation in Michigan will be two weeks from now? You know what, Martha, it was only 12 days we had our first case, now we have over 800, around 8 people have died. The numbers are growing so quickly. It's hard to say solidly what we know at this moment. We had an infant detected to have covid-19. So the thought that this is only one segment of our population is ridiculous. We got to take this seriously. Every one of us need to do our part. Assume you're carrying covid-19, wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Stay at home if you're not absolutely needed to be outside your home. If you do go outside, keep that six-foot distance from others. We all have to play our part to mitigate the spread. To save our healthcare system. Good lessons for everyone. Governor Whitmer, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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