The director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Rochelle Walensky, has warned that Michigan will not be able to “vaccinate its way” out of the pandemic and needs to shut down again, amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.
Michigan is currently suffering from the biggest surge of coronavirus cases in the US, as the state recorded more than 100,000 active cases in the last week alone.
The CDC currently lists it as having the highest infection rate in the country, with it currently recording 492.1 positive infections per 100,000 people.
Hospitals in Michigan also reported a 30 per cent rise in admissions over the last week, as the state has seen a dramatic spread of the B-117 variant, with 70 per cent of new cases stemming from that strain.
Despite the alarming figures, governor Gretchen Whitmer has said that she will not roll back on the loosening of coronavirus measures, which currently allow restaurants to be open at 50 per cent capacity and schools to be back for in-person learning.
She has urged residents to avoid both those activities for the next two weeks, but made clear that “these are not orders, mandates, or requirements,” while asking the White House for a greater allocation of vaccine doses to help protect residents.
However, speaking at a CDC press conference on Monday, Dr Walensky spoke about the rise in cases in Michigan, and warned that vaccination will not be enough to stop the outbreak in the state.
“The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer, and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another to test to the extent that we have available, to contact trace,” Dr Walensky said.
“Really what we need to do in those situations is shut things down. I think If we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we will be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work,” the director added.
White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients also confirmed last Friday that the Biden administration will not redirect doses from better-faring states to Michigan, saying: “The fair and equitable way to distribute the vaccine is based on the adult population by state, tribe and territory.
“That’s how it’s been done, and we will continue to do so. The virus is unpredictable. We don’t know where the next increase in cases could occur.”
Although some states have been badly affected over the last week, Covid-19 deaths in the US as a whole have decreased dramatically following a surge in January, as the country has been vaccinating residents across the country.
The US has so far administered more than 187 million doses of the Covid vaccine. At least 72 million people have been fully vaccinated, totalling 21.9 per cent of the population.
Michigan has so far administered one dose or more to just under 40 per cent of its adult population, as around 25 per cent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
Since the start of the pandemic, Michigan has recorded more than 820,000 coronavirus cases and at least 17,552 deaths.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 31.2 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 562,096.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies