MI Docs Demand Medically Accurate Information from VP Pence During MI Visit

As Michigan physicians, we call on Vice President Mike Pence to use his visit to Sterling Heights, Mich., on Thursday to publicly apologize for asking governors to lie about the true scope and magnitude of new outbreaks sweeping across many states in recent weeks. He must use this opportunity to provide medically accurate information to Michiganders and the nation, and applaud Gov. Whitmer for her successful response to flatten Michigan's COVID-19 curve.

In his role as head of the White House COVID-19 task force, Mr. Pence has a responsibility to Americans to provide timely, accurate and trustworthy information --and that includes supporting governors who are doing the right thing in spite of tremendous political pressure and opposition from President Trump and his supporters. Instead, Mr. Pence stood by as President Trump actively fought Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s necessary, decisive, data-driven and science-based action to curb the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to Gov. Whitmer’s efforts in the face of President Trump’s attacks, Michigan is one of few states experiencing a decrease in new COVID-19 cases.

More recently, in a private call to many governors, Mr. Pence asked them to spread the false message that increases in coronavirus positive cases are the result of increased testing. Mr. Pence should know this to be untrue.

Since May 31, seven-day averages in several states with coronavirus outbreaks have increased. In at least 14 states, positive cases have outstripped the average number of tests that have been administered, according to an analysis of data collected by The New York Times. This means the increase in COVID-19 cases is outpacing the increase in testing. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that coronavirus hospitalizations have decreased nationally, though positive cases have increased and the number of deaths attributed to the disease caused by COVID-19 could increase as more data becomes available.

Mr. Pence’s misinformation is an apparent attempt to change the facts so they fit the Trump Administration’s politically-driven preferred narrative. The Trump Administration has repeatedly called for the economy to reopen, even at the height of the pandemic when nearly all state governors prudently chose to implement and extend stay-at-home orders to protect public health and save American lives.

Mr. Pence’s disinformation campaign also seeks to whitewash the Trump Administration’s record of failing to fully prepare for the pandemic, which has killed more than 117,000 Americans and sickened more than 2 million people. We now know that had President Trump and Mr. Pence listened to the advice of public health experts and implemented stay-at-home orders early and promoted robust social distancing, at least 36,000 people would not be dead today.

In his position as head of the White House’s COVID-19 task force, Mr. Pence has a responsibility to ensure Americans get fact-based information and to stand up for best practices that can save lives. When President Trump refuses to wear a mask and models this dangerous behavior for his supporters, Mr. Pence should correct the president. When President Trump sidelines the White House task force, Mr. Pence should remind him that COVID-19 is still with us. And when President Trump attacked governors for daring to stand up to him by implementing data-driven policies, Mr. Pence should put politics aside and support their work, regardless of party. Time and time again, when Mr. Pence should have stood up for science and public health, he failed.

As physicians, we cannot stand by and allow continued misinformation and medically inaccurate information to go unchallenged. We call on Mr. Pence to cancel his “victory lap” meant to take credit for Gov. Whitmer’s work, and apologize for attempting to create a false narrative about a pandemic that has killed Americans, devastated the U.S. economy and forced 40 million people to claim unemployment.

Kimberly Aiken, MD; Pediatric Hospitalist (Dexter, MI)

Elizabeth Arnold, MD; Geriatrics (Detroit, MI)

Allen Babcock, MD; Orthopedic Surgeon (Utica, MI)

Suhail Baniter, MD; Pediatrician (Canton, MI)

Farhan Bhatti, MD; Family Physician, MI State Lead for CTPM (Lansing, MI)

Ronald Bishop, MD; Emergency Medicine (East Lansing, MI)

Cynthia Boynton, MD; Internal Medicine (East Lansing, MI)

Manuel Chavarri, MD; Endocrinologist (Alpena, MI)

Kristin Chrouser, MD, MPH; Urologic Surgeon (Dexter, MI)

Ben Davidson, MD; Family Medicine (Grand Rapids, MI)

Brent Davidson, MD and Vice Chair of Women's Health; OB/GYN (Bloomfield Hills, MI)

Diana Davidson, MD; Family Practice (Ferrysburg, MI)

Robert Davidson, MD; Emergency Medicine (Spring Lake, MI)

Vita Eizans, DO; OB/GYN (Ada, MI)

Larry Feldman, MD; Psychiatrist (Lakeside, MI)

Mark Fireman, MD; Radiation Oncologist (Midland, MI)

Iris Ford, DO; Emergency Medicine (Byron Center, MI)

Robert Goldfarb, MD; Women's Health (Farmington, MI)

Guy Golembiewski, MD; Family Practice (Melrose Township, MI)

Mike Grossman, MD; Family Practice (Negaunee, MI)

Melissa Hamp, MD, MPH; Pediatrician (Frankfort, MI)

Daniel Hamstra, MD and PhD; Radiation Oncologist (Ann Arbor, MI)

William Harris, MD; Emergency Medicine (Hudsonville, MI)

Harland Holman, MD; Family Medicine (Cascade Township, MI)

Christina Jacobs, MD; Radiologist (Kalamazoo, MI)

Harshini Jayasuriya, MD; Family Medicine (Holt, MI)

Omkar Karthikeyan, MD; Pediatrician (Ann Arbor, MI)

Christina Lang, MD; Internal Medicine (Laketon Township, MI)

Eric Lester, MD; Medical Oncologist (Saint Joseph, MI)

Kenneth Levin, MD; Radiation Oncologist (Orchard Lake Village, MI)

Michael Lewis, MD; Anesthesiologist (Royal Oak, MI)

Peter Lundeen, MD; Hospital Medicine (Grand Rapids, MI)

William Lyden, DC, DACBN, DACBI, DCBCN; Chiropractic Physician and Integrated Healthcare Practitioner (Niles, MI)

Jed Maker, MD; OB/GYN (Beulah, MI)

Stephanie Markle, MD; Surgeon (Kalamazoo, MI)

Michael Miletic, MD; Psychiatrist (Bloomfield Hills, MI)

Kim Mills, MD; Pathologist (Rockford, MI)

Lylas Mogk, MD; Ophthalmologist (Grosse Point, MI)

David Moore, DO; Internal Medicine (Saugatuck, MI)

Chris Nefcy, MD; Pediatrician (Traverse City, MI)

Vivekanand Palavali, MD; Neurosurgeon (Fenton, MI)

Herminio Perez, MD; Family Medicine (Rochester, MI)

Robert Phillips Jr., MD; Internal Medicine (Farmington, MI)

Paul Ponstein, MD and Medical Director; Family Medicine (Whitehall, MI)

Manzar Rajput, MD; Psychiatrist (Ypsilanti, MI)

Leonard Rosen, MD; Psychiatrist (Farmington, MI)

Sharon Rosen, MD; Psychiatrist (Farmington, MI)

Frederick Rosin, MD; Family Medicine (White Lake, MI)

Lauren Snyder, MD; Family Medicine (Grand Rapids, MI)

Ronald Steury, DO; Hospitalist (Sheridan, MI)

Shironda Stewart, MD; Rheumatologist (Canton, MI)

Allen Tesser, MD; Dermatologist (Bloomfield Hills, MI)

Darryl Varda, MD; Neurologist (Ada, MI)

Naysha Varghese, MD; Family Practice (Troy, MI)

Dale Wiersma, MD; Internal Medicine (Zeeland, MI)

Kay L. Wilson, DDS; Pediatric Dentist (Ann Arbor, MI)

Hashim Yar, MD; Emergency Medicine (Bloomfield Hils, MI)