The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that MI should "close things down" to help address the country's worst coronavirus outbreak, days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instead urged people to voluntarily restrict certain activities. "If we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in MI, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work to actually have the impact". She said the state needed to "go back to basics" and shut down.
The United States reported an 8% rise in new cases of COVID-19 to 490,000 last week, the fourth week in a row that infections have increased, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data. The country is now averaging more than 66,000 new cases a day - up from a low of about 52,000 daily cases in mid-March.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has pleaded with the federal government to increase the number of vaccines allotted to her state to address a risky surge in cases but, despite close ties to the White House, has been rebuffed.
"We've got to be able to do this when there are surges to try to help states out", says r. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. "That's what we're calling on people to do - to do your part". Only 35% of MI residents have received their first vaccine shot and 23% are fully vaccinated, though these numbers are average for the nation.
The Democratic governor last spring issued a monthslong stay-at-home order to curb the virus, later lifting it.
"We are seeing a surge in MI despite the fact that we have some of the strongest policies in place: mask mandates, capacity limits, working from home", Whitmer stated.
"As our nation's top health experts have said, this is not a failure of policy, but rather a compliance, variant and mobility issue, which is why it's important for us to ramp up vaccinations as quickly as possible", he said. On Sunday, Whitmer told CBS she would work with the White House but wanted to do everything she could to get additional doses.
Though the White House is not yet sending additional vaccines to Michigan, Whitmer thanked the Biden administration for promising to send additional resources for testing and to distribute the remainder of its vaccines more efficiently.
Last week, MI averaged 6,429 new virus cases per day, and nine of the 10 USA metropolitan areas with the most new cases per capita are in the state, according to the New York Times. A CDC team is on the ground, and 140 Federal Emergency Management Agency vaccinators have been dispatched to the state, he said.
Across the country, COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing for ages 18-64, particularly in the upper Midwest, CNN reported.