Infographic courtesy Raymond James.
Infographic courtesy Raymond James.

Raymond James, a major investment bank, found Michigan to meet none of the White House’s criteria to re-engage a state economy. 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL— Major investment banking firm Raymond James has cautioned that Michigan is one of the states worst positioned to reopen, even under the White House’s plan to re-engage state economies. 

The firm dove into data to determine what states with plans to start “reopening” met the various White House criteria. Michigan’s own criteria are more stringent than those analysed by Raymond James.

The White House criteria were: a downward trajectory of symptoms for 14 days, downward trajectory of the test positivity rate for 14 days and hospitals having capacity to treat all patients. 

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Michigan’s own criteria go farther, adding enhanced ability to test for and trace the virus, capacity for health systems to handle not just current cases but resurgences of the disease and a set of social distancing best practices for workplaces. 

Based on poll numbers, as The Gander reports, Americans trust their governors more than the President when determining when and how to re-engage economies and are cautious about doing so too early and risking a second wave of the virus. And Michigan has led the Midwest in setting it’s own criteria for reopening, but in the interest of using a national standard, the Wall Street financial firm applied the White House’s gating criteria nationwide. 

Raymond James found Michigan met none of those criteria. 

Michigan is one of only two states to fail all three of the criteria set out by the White House. The other was New Jersey. Four states meet all the White House criteria while the vast majority of states meet some but not all of those criteria. 

“Notably, although a few states are green per this analysis, none are truly ready according to the Opening Up America Again criteria as many do not have widespread antibody testing available,” Raymond James cautioned; “although this is subject to change in the near future.”

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This analysis comes as protesters and the Republican-controlled legislature are trying to force a faster reignition of Michigan’s economy. Sheriffs even vowed not to enforce Michigan’s stay-at-home orders. And, as The ‘Gander reports, the public’s willingness or unwillingness to participate in stay-at-home orders was a factor in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to start easing protections that had helped the state manage the pandemic through April. 

Even those eased protections do not go far enough for conservatives, however, who intend to protest the stay-at-home order Thursday.

“We do not believe any state is truly ready to open up on a wide scale,” wrote Raymond James. “As we have said for weeks, a safe return to some level of normalcy without a vaccine or effective therapeutic would require a robust test, trace, and isolate strategy that our country does not yet have the infrastructure to execute.”

Raymond James notes that re-engagement of state economies comes with an extreme risk to the population. Doctors from one of the country’s top coronavirus pandemic experts to a rural Michigan ER doctor have cautioned about the risk of a second wave of the pandemic that could come from too quickly easing protections.

Despite this, President Trump continues to fuel efforts to “liberate Michigan” and push Gov. Whitmer to re-engage the state’s economy even when it violates his own guidelines. 

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But as the Guardian notes, some states have decided to jump forward with re-engagement plans despite not meeting the criteria outlined by the White House. Like Georgia.

“Why the hell is Georgia opening when it isn’t ticking the box of phase one?” Yanis Ben Amor, executive director of the Center for Sustainable Development in the Earth Institute said to the Guardian. “It still has too many cases. There needs to be a strong, informed approach from the federal government rather than just let the states police themselves.”

Georgia is poised to reopen nail salons, barber shops and restaurants Friday, all of which are high-risk environments for spreading an airborne pandemic virus. This while 76% of Americans support closing bars and restaurants according to polling reported by MSNBC. Some Florida beaches have already opened to the public. Ohio is aiming to re-engage retail completely in two weeks. 

All three of those states fail to meet the White House requirements for reopening.