Investigative journalist Charlie LeDuff sounded off Thursday following his filing of a lawsuit against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, telling “The Story” that the state still refuses to provide relevant data on coronavirus-related nursing home deaths.
LeDuff told host Martha MacCallum that while embattled New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stopped co-mingling coronavirus-positive patients in Empire State nursing homes after some time, the Great Lakes State is allegedly “still doing it.”
Republicans in Lansing are threatening a subpoena against Whitmer’s Department of Health for the public records data being sought by LeDuff and a prosecutor in Macomb County within the Detroit metro says he’s heard outcry from dozens of families, Fox News correspondent Garrett Tenney reported earlier in the hour.
“In and around the country, about 1/3 of all covid deaths are in long-term care facilities. Nursing homes, homes for the aged and adult foster care. In Michigan, it’s 38 to 40%,” LeDuff told MacCallum.
“[Whitmer] has to come clean. She did exactly what Cuomo did except for the fact that we’re still co-mingling,” he said. “That’s one of the hubs there,” he added, pointing to a senior living facility behind him.
At that particular facility, LeDuff claimed, ambulances were seen “ping-ponging people” in and out of the home during the height of the pandemic.
“[They were] handling them like bags of laundry — and we don’t have a true accounting of how many people died because like Cuomo, we got a hospital count and we have a nursing home count, we now know. I’m not taking anybody’s word. I’m here for the people.”
Cuomo stopped doing this in May when the data showed it was a scourge in the nursing homes. The governor [Whitmer] doubled down in May. We didn’t keep COVID case track in the nursing homes until June and we didn’t keep death records until July when the federal government mandated it.”
Earlier this month, LeDuff announced on Twitter that he and the Mackinac Center, a Michigan-based free market think tank, were “preparing a lawsuit” against the Democratic governor.
“The public has a right to know. Above all, the public has a need to know. We shut down the entire economy, we interrupted our children’s lives, all in the name of protecting the most vulnerable. We now know this was the institutionalized elderly. If we could not protect them, at the very least we deserve an explanation from Madam Governor,” LeDuff told Fox News in an email last week.
Whitmer responded to the criticism earlier this week:
“I’m proud of the work that we did. We can parse through different angles of statistics and compare ourselves with other states. I think that it sometimes can be a fool’s errand, because the way that we are congregating data varies from state to state,” she said, according to Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV.
Fox News’ Houston Keene and Garrett Tenney contributed to this report.