- 9 out of 10 US metro areas with recent COVID-19 surges are in Michigan, according to The New York Times.
- Earlier in the pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was criticized by Republicans for her measures to curb the virus’ spread in her state.
- But now, Whitmer is only asking that people avoid the indoor activities that spread the virus.
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Nine of 10 metro areas in the US with recent COVID-19 surges are in the state of Michigan, The New York Times reported Saturday, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked – but didn’t order – her constituents to avoid indoor activities.
During a news conference Friday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan and Chief Deputy Director for Health in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the case rate in Michigan was four times higher than it was in February, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
Throughout the pandemic, Whitmer received criticism from some of her constituents and conservative leaders who targeted her for her orders that closed schools, put limits on businesses, and required masks in public spaces.
Whitmer on Friday called on state residents to take a two-week pause from dining at indoor restaurants, in-person high school, and youth sports. Bars were allowed to re-open in February, and indoor dining and bars were permitted to operate at 50% indoor capacity in March, according to Click On Detroit.
Most schools in Michigan have reopened for some sort of in-person learning, as Whitmer in January issued guidance asking that classrooms to open to students by March 1.
“If we can pause some of these activities, temporarily, it will go a long way to prevent the spread and save lives,” Khaldun said on Friday at the news conference with Whitmer.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 75% of beds in Michigan ICU were occupied last week, down 1% from the week prior. Hospitalizations as a whole were up by 1% last week to 63% capacity, according to the Hopkins data.
Over the past week, 17.7% of COVID-19 tests administered in the state have returned a positive result. That’s more than three times higher than the national positivity rate of 5.0%, according to the JHU data. As of Friday, the seven-day average of new cases diagnosed has topped 8,222, just about 100 cases shy of the state’s all-time daily case average in November 2020, according to JHU.
As Fox 2 Detroit noted, the rise in cases has been the highest among people younger than 70. Just under 20% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the JHU data.
“We need everyone to step up and to take personal responsibility here,” Whitmer said, in a move that somewhat echoes that longstanding rhetoric by Republican leaders who resisted – and continue to resist – calls for stricter measures in their state over the course of the pandemic.
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