Intro and Disclaimer

QM would like to help you make sense of information being circulated by: 1. Translating data into digestible language, 2. Dispelling misconceptions and linking to evidence, and 3. Curating relevant data, and articles on a weekly basis. Our Round Up/ Mythbusting projects are intended to help our QM family make sense of information being circulated. Taking control of our health as a queer community includes making institutional knowledge accessible to the public.

Disclaimer: Although this information has been evaluated and determined to be accurate by Queering Medicine (QM), we at QM do not want to give the impression that we are the sole gatekeepers of medical knowledge. As a collective, QM members bring professional and personal qualifications that allow us to research and share credible knowledge. Our goals for this weekly round up and myth busting is to translate data into digestible information, dispel misinformation, and curate relevant data for the Lansing queer community. We encourage the community to question knowledge found outside of reputable sources, however, Queering Medicine will gladly help facilitate this process. If evidence or recommendations change, or any inaccuracies are found, we will correct them and explain the changes. If you have any questions about our methodology and sources, or you would like to point out any inaccuracies, please let us know!

Michigan Supreme Court Rules Against Governor on COVID-19 Executive Orders

On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned rulings from lower courts and found that Governor Whitmer did not have the authority to declare a state of emergency beyond April 30th. At question was the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act from 1945, which she based her Executive Orders on. The court found that the law violates the state Constitution by delegating legislative powers to the executive branch. The Governor issued a response that notes that the ruling does not take effect for 21 days, and the emergency declarations will remain in force until that time. Her statement was criticized by Republicans in the State Legislature, including Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, who said that “I don't know that anybody's going to enforce them.”

After the court ruling, State Senator Shirkey was quoted as saying "We need to now transition from a public health emergency to managing and learning to live with this virus" and that "we're moving now from an era or a time when the focus was on mandating, dictating and frankly in some cases threatening, to more of an informing and inspiring and encouraging and loving and trusting people to do the right thing." Given the challenges in getting people to comply with mask mandates, it’s clear that simply asking people to “do the right thing” is not an approach that is likely to be successful, and “learning to live with this virus” is akin to a death sentence for thousands of people in the state.

Michigan would become the only state not under an active declared emergency related to COVID-19 if action is not taken.

It's important to remember that the Court ruling does not undermine or invalidate the need for and benefit of the measures taken by the Governor to limit the spread of the virus and protect public health, but is instead specifically about the legal authority invoked to apply them.

Regardless of legal mandates, it is imperative that people continue to wear masks, to practice physical distancing, and wash hands frequently. COVID-19 is not a thing of the past, and the more people try to return to "normal" life, the more the virus will spread. We have not reached a point where we can go back to the way things were, though we hope that by this time next year, that may be possible.

More information:

President Trump Hospitalized with COVID-19, Three Senators Test Positive

On Friday, President Trump released a statement that he and the First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19, one day after it was revealed that one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, had tested positive. On Friday evening, the White House said that Trump was being admitted to a hospital (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) for several days. Trump reportedly is experiencing symptoms including fever and fatigue, and his hospitalization and conflicting statements from the White House and his doctors are fueling speculation that his condition may be worse than most official statements suggest. Trump was reportedly taking an experimental Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail as of Friday, which has not been approved by the FDA, and was reportedly taking remdesivir as of Friday night.

It is unknown how many people that the Trumps and Hicks have been in close contact with may also be infected, but on September 26th, Trump hosted an event to announce his Supreme Court nominee at which most attendees did not wear masks or practice physical distancing. As of yesterday, eight people who were at the event had tested positive for COVID-19: President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), former Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, John Jenkins (University of Notre Dame President), and a journalist. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) also tested positive this week, but was not at the event. Republican Senators have reportedly been meeting multiple times a week for lunch (not physically distanced or wearing masks while eating or speaking to each other), and Senators Tillis, Lee, and Johnson have all attended such lunches in the past week.

Joe Biden, who had debated Trump on Tuesday, released a statement that he and his wife tested negative for COVID-19, and urged everyone to continue to wear masks. At Tuesday's debate, Biden's team followed the rules that required wearing masks, while many on Trump's team did not.

Trump has rarely been seen wearing a mask and has gone as far as to mock Biden for wearing a mask in the past. Trump has also been a key source of misinformation on COVID-19, and is on tape saying that he intentionally downplayed the threat it posed.

More information:

Grand Jury Audio and Conflicting Information from Breonna Taylor Killing

Last week, a grand jury indicted one officer involved in killing Breonna Taylor for firing into a neighboring apartment but didn't charge any of the three officers in question with homicide or any other charges. In the days that followed, a variety of new information has come to light:

    • On Tuesday, it was revealed that the grand jury didn't reject charges against police for the murder of Breonna Taylor, and instead that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not present those charges to the grand jury for consideration. The grand jury was reportedly told by the Attorney General that he had determined that the officers were justified in their actions.

    • After Cameron told the media that the grand jury was responsible for the lack of murder charges and that they had received all available evidence, a member of the grand jury filed an extremely rare motion in court to have grand jury recordings related to the Taylor case released to the public. A judge ordered the release of the recordings, and on Friday, 15 hours of grand jury inquiry were made public, though the recordings do not include instructions from prosecutors regarding potential charges.

    • There was apparently no official plan for the raid on Taylor's apartment, despite claims by Sergeant Mattingly, one of the officers who killed her.

    • Police had acquired a narcotics warrant for Taylor's apartment (which resulted in the raid in which she was killed), and while they reported that no drugs or paraphernalia were found, they never ended up searching the apartment, failing to execute the search warrant they used to gain entry.

    • Police claim they knocked multiple times and announced themselves before entering, but a neighbor who lived next door said they knew "for a fact that nobody announced" themselves.

    • The only witness to say that they heard police announce themselves at Taylor's door (in contrast to multiple witnesses who say that no such announcement was made) initially said that "nobody identified themselves." Their story only changed to say that the police announced themselves (in line with claims by the police) two months later.

    • Each officer reported that they knocked on the door for a different amount of time.

    • Detective Myles Cosgrove, who shot 16 of the 32 bullets fired by police at Taylor and her boyfriend, said he didn't remember firing, and that "if you told me I didn’t fire a gun, I would be like, OK." "It’s like a surreal thing. If you told me I didn’t do something at that time, I’d believe you."

    • Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, stated that immediately following the shooting, he was told by an officer that he was going to jail for the rest of his life, and the officer said it was "unfortunate" that he hadn't been hit by any bullets.

    • A witness stated that they heard an officer say "Reload, reload, let's do what we need to do."

    • SWAT team members who arrived on the scene after the shooting said that officers involved in the shooting violated the policy of being separated with a peer support officer, and instead wandered the scene freely.

More information:

QM Public Health Crisis Round-Up Team (in no particular order):

  • Mauricio Franco (he/him/his), M.S.- Global Medicine, Fourth-year medical student.

  • Andrew-Huy Dang (he/him/his), B.S. Microbiology, Fourth-year medical student

  • Wyatt Shoemaker (he/him/his), Fourth-year medical student.

  • Antonio Flores (he/him/his), Third-year medical student, B.S. Public Health Sciences.

  • Daniel Pfau (they/them/theirs), Neuroscience PhD, Biological Sciences MS, Homeschool Teacher.

  • Francis Yang (he/him/his), M.S.-Global Medicine, Second-year medical student.

  • Kryssia Campos (she/her/hers), Second-year medical student.

  • Alessandra Daskalakis (she/her/hers): Second-year medical student, B.S. Biology, B.A. Comparative Literature

  • Vanessa Burnett (she/her/hers) M.P.H; Health Equity Consultant, Michigan Public Health Institute

  • Wilfredo Flores (he/him/his), fourth-year PhD candidate in Writing and Rhetoric, M.A. Technical Communication

  • Grey L. Pierce (they/them); M.A., Cognitive Psychology; Assistant Director, Michigan State University (MSU) Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting; Project Manager, State of the State Survey, MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research