By Jon King /

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners is set to give final approval to a resolution seeking to issue a Freedom of Information Act Request for the specific information that the state is using to justify emergency workplace rules regarding COVID-19.

In a resolution authored by Board Chairman Wes Nakagiri, the commissioners will seek to have County Administrator Nathan Burd issue Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Governor and the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity “to provide those records establishing what the governor considers to be “the best available scientific evidence and public health guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health authorities.”

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Finance Committee, Nakagiri cited the April 10th order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that extended the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA) emergency rules “for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate” the spread of COVID-19, which were originally passed on October 14, 2020. The April 10th order signed by the governor extended them a full year until October 14, 2021. But because that original order from October of 2020 stated that “There is currently no approved vaccine or proven effective antiviral treatment for COVID-19,” which was true at that time, Nakagiri says it brings into question the science being used to extend the order and that in his opinion Gov. Whitmer’s actions in regards to COVID are all suspect.

“We know from past experience the governor has used social science to allocate vaccines. We know from past experience the governor has used political science when she attempted to take private medical information collected from contact tracing and place it in a database controlled by a political operative. Now we see the governor and Lansing using outdated science, hopefully, in this FOIA we’ll see that they have actually used good medical science, but we’ll never know until we get a chance to look at the documents.”

Ironically, the study that Nakagiri claims prompted his interest in the extension has itself been discredited as being outdated. The 2020 paper, “Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis,” was written by Baruch Vainshelboim and published on the National Institutes of Health website after originally being published in the journal Medical Hypothesis. It claims that masks are not effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and can deprive the body of oxygen, which has been repeatedly debunked by health authorities and infectious disease experts.

And in fact, the legitimacy of the study's author has itself been discredited by multiple sources including the Associated Press, which found that Vainshelboim’s claim to work for Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System are false. In addition, the journal which originally published the study, Medical Hypothesis, has since retracted the paper, calling it “misleading,” and says it “misquotes and selectively cites published papers.”

Following the discussion on Wednesday, the Finance Committee members, which includes every member of the board, voted to approve the resolution. It will come before the full board for final approval on Monday.