The COVID-19 pandemic presents a serious challenge for families and businesses across Michigan. Since March, almost 150,000 cases have been diagnosed, and over 7,000 people have died. This prompted a statewide shutdown in an effort to limit the transmission of the virus and ensure it did not overwhelm the limited capacity of our health system. Due to the success of these efforts, Michigan has gone from being a COVID-19 hotspot to a national leader in containing the virus. In the legislature, Nancy Smith will work to ensure we preserve these successes by listening to public health experts, working to increase our capacity to test and contact-trace, and codifying the current DHHS statewide mask mandate into law.
Nancy also knows that this isn't just a public health crisis -- it's also an economic emergency. Tens of thousands of Michiganders are out of work and struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. Small businesses and farms have been thrown into a state of uncertainty, with many unsure of their ability to survive. Workers, farms, and small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and it is incumbent on our government to provide assistance during this period of upheaval. That's why Nancy believes our state should allocate additional funding to grants for small businesses and family farms. She also believes the moratorium on evictions and utility shutoffs should be extended until the pandemic is over, and she will work with our federal partners to pass an additional COVID-19 relief package for working families.
Finally, Nancy Smith is committed to fighting the racial and socioeconomic inequities laid bare by COVID-19. A growing body of evidence indicates that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color, who are more likely to work in the retail sector and suffer underlying health conditions as a result of uneven access to healthcare. As your state representative, Nancy Smith will fight to bridge these inequities by protecting and expanding Michigan's Medicaid program. Additionally, she will work to expand the state's paid leave law to ensure Michigan workers are never again forced to choose between their health and their financial security.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge for every worker, family, and business in Michigan. As your state representative, Nancy Smith will fight to ensure that our families and businesses don’t only survive this crisis -- but that they come out even stronger than they were before.