Gov. Whitmer Asks Michigan High Schools To Close For 2 Weeks As COVID Transmission Rate Soars
Michigan has claimed the mantle of America’s COVID epicenter this week as it officially has the highest transmission rate in the US, driven in part by a slower-than-average vaccination campaign and the growing prevalence of mutant strains. And on Friday, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the federal government to send more vaccines, and ordered high schools in the state to return to remote-only education for two weeks.
Youth sports will also be asked to take a break, and diners have been asked to avoid eating in restaurants.
All four of these requests are voluntary and don’t carry the weight of official mandates from her administration. Watch this morning’s press conference below.
Whitmer said a temporary pause would go “a long way” to stop the spread of the virus and save lives. “Right now our numbers are alarming, and we all have a role to play to get our state moving in the right direction again,” Whitmer said.
“That’s why I’m renewing my call on the federal government to surge additional vaccines to our state.”
The Associated Press reported that President Biden responded to Whitmer’s request by offering to send additional federal resources to support vaccinations and more COVID-19 testing, along with drugs used to treat the illness. But his administration will not be sending more vaccine doses beyond the state’s normal allocation.
Scientists have blamed younger people for spreading the virus as they start mingling in public in greater numbers: “We’ve seen that the younger population has played a significant role in transmission during this most recent spike,” said Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.
“I urge youth sports organizers to pause in-person activities for the next couple weeks, and as always, mask up, wash your hands, social distance and get your safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are able.”
Whitmer said her family is ordering takeout and taking the proper precautions, but that stopping the virus must be “a team effort.”
While 5MM vaccine doses have been distributed across Michigan, reports earlier this week claimed that nearly 250 people who were “fully vaccinated” had come down with serious COVID infections, and that 3 of them died. Speculation immediately turned to mutant COVID strains, against which scientists fear vaccines might not be as effective, as some trial data has shown. Particularly, health officials claimed during the press briefing that the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK is driving Michigan’s infection rate, as the state has been identified as the state where the strain is most prevalent.
It’s worth noting that while Michigan takes its first steps toward shutting schools and its economy in the face of yet another COVID wave, Texas has moved to reopen, and so far, the virus has remained in check. The development has baffled even Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fri, 04/09/2021 – 14:15