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Why Michigan's COVID Spike is So Frightening

The pandemic and its variants remain a threat

Rising coronavirus [COVID-19] infection rates nationwide prompted Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to confess on Monday to a sense of "impending doom." The state most responsible for such alarms right now might be Michigan. The CDC on Tuesday said Michigan led all states in new cases per 100,000 in the previous week. And hospitalizations had surged 53 percent, with 2,144 adults hospitalized, compared with a week earlier.

Cases are multiplying faster than they were last fall, when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) instituted a “pause to save lives,” with measures that included stopping in-person high school classes and banning indoor dining. That intervention prevented more than 100,000 COVID cases, a University of Michigan study estimated. No similar measures have been launched in the Wolverine State this time, but it isn’t too late for the governor, with the help of Michiganders, to rein in the rapidly increasing threat.

Is there something about Michigan this is prompting the spike in infections? No, it’s the same dynamics happening elsewhere. They just seem to be happening in Michigan first. Restaurants and bars are pushing their permitted 50 percent maximum capacity (capped at 300 patrons). Much of the clientele in those restaurants appears to young people — and young people are increasingly among the hospitalized in Michigan. From March 5 to March 27, more than half of all COVID cases in Michigan were people under age 39. Anecdotally, I can report that people here have lately become much more casual about wearing masks.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Washington Post.

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