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'Spread Hope, Not COVID': MDHHS launches campaign to unite Michiganders in reopening state safely

“This virus has devastated families," Gov. Whitmer said Monday, but a united Michigan will come back.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan public health officials launched a new campaign Monday urging Michiganders to unite to contain the spread of COVID-19 so the state's economy, schools, and communities can safely reopen -- and stay open. 

The “Spread Hope, Not COVID” campaign already includes about 50 of Michigan’s leading health care, business, education, community, manufacturing, tourism, senior citizen, labor, faith-based, and public safety organizations and is led by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The campaign calls on all Michiganders to join together to “Spread Hope, Not COVID” by taking actions that will significantly reduce the spread of the virus including wearing masks, washing and sanitizing hands, practicing physical distancing, and more. 

“This virus has devastated families across the state and had an unprecedented impact on our economy. We are not out of the woods yet, and we must all continue to step up and do our part to fight COVID-19,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday. “Our ‘Spread Hope, Not COVID’ message is for all Michiganders to do everything in their power to reduce the spread of the virus and protect our families, frontline workers, educators, and small businesses.” 

“The virus has taken so much away from us, but every action that a united Michigan takes to contain the spread moves us closer to resuming normal, to moving our economy and lives forward,” Gov. Whitmer continued. “While some of the actions we must take are personally uncomfortable and inconvenient, there is broad consensus that they will contain COVID-19 cases to levels that will enable us to safely reopen our economy, our schools and other institutions -- and keep them open.” 

The $5 million advertising campaign’s messaging is based on a survey of 2,047 Michigan residents ages 18 and older conducted July 8-13. The survey’s goal was to identify and quantify behaviors and attitudes related to wearing masks and other types of facial coverings. 

According to MDHHS, the survey found that 72% of Michigan residents say they always wear a mask in public, with Black Michiganders significantly more likely to wear a mask than all other respondent groups, and women more likely than men to wear a mask. 

Outside Metro Detroit, there are no significant differences in mask-wearing among Michigan’s various geographic regions. Mask-wearing tends to be higher in Metro Detroit. Among age groups, Boomers are significantly more likely to wear masks, while Generation Xers are significantly less likely. 

Additional extensive research is continuing to measure changes in attitudes and behavior. The research continues to identify significant misinformation and confusion about mask-wearing. The campaign includes facts about mask-wearing and details about the other simple behaviors Michiganders must take together to control the virus, including:

Wear a cloth mask or face covering over your mouth and nose to reduce the spread of the disease. While masks alone may not always prevent the spread of the disease, scientists and doctors agree that masks and face coverings can help to reduce the spread by about 70%. Michiganders are required to wear a face covering whenever you are in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces where you may be in close contact with people outside of your household, or people you do know but have not been with or near recently.

Practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet from people outside of your household. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact.

Wash and sanitize your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face, nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands.

Get tested. To avoid bringing COVID-19 home, it is especially important you get tested if: you feel sick, you have to leave home to go to work or if you have been in close contact with someone who is sick or has symptoms. Expanded testing is now available across the state as we continue to reopen.

To get tested, call the COVID Hotline at 888-535-6136 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and press 1 to be connected to an operator who can help you find a nearby location and schedule an appointment or visit gov/CoronavirusTest to find testing locations near you and schedule an appointment.

MDHHS said the Spread Hope, Not COVID campaign is funded through legislation approved by both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress.  


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