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Can Michiganders voluntarily work together to flatten the omicron curve?

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jan 05, 2022

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Can Michiganders voluntarily work together to flatten the curve and save lives as omicron surges?

Michigan released a new COVID Response Data and Modeling update and it shows concerning trends.

All counties in the state are at high transmission. Over the last week, the case rate has increased exponentially. Average hospital admissions are increasing for all age groups, up twenty percent since the previous week. Among pediatric patients, the number of children with COVID-19 hospitalized almost doubled.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive, says these are trends we all need to pay attention to.

"We’re currently seeing hospitals not only struggling, but we are seeing increases in our overall mortality. That means that overall access to medical care is likely being delayed. And that could mean worse outcomes for people around the state, whether or not they have COVID,” said Dr. Bagdasarian.

“If community leaders can start talking to people about vaccination and other tools we have, I think we have a chance to flatten the curve,” said Dr. Bagdasarian.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian spoke Tuesday about how in some states, they saw a 1000% increase in case rates. Wednesday, she wanted to clarify the message. She says as experts forecast with different models, the variables are many. Modeling takes significant time. There is not a clear model showing what will happen here or indicating we will have a surge like some of the most hard-hit states so far.

“Looking at states around us gives us the best idea of what could happen here in Michigan. We are in a different place though than some of the states that have been hit hardest. Many of those states were not experiencing an ongoing Delta surge. Because of that, they had a chance to recover. Other states have had a chance to recover from their delta surge and had a bit of breathing room,” she explained.

The message is that even though Michigan may not see the most severe increase in cases, relative to other states, the impact could be devastating for some.

Hospital staff may have to make tough decisions as they prioritize who receives care as resources are potentially stretched even thinner.

Dr. Bagdasarian is making a plea to individuals, businesses, communities, and schools. We need to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to flatten the curve. It is a phrase we heard often early in the pandemic. The idea is to use individual and community actions to keep the number of cases from increasing at a curve so steep, that there are far more patients than the hospital systems can handle.

“If a majority of the public sees that there is something really quite scary coming and they decide that this is a good time to get vaccinated, a good time to get boosted, to wear masks in public settings, to send their children to school in masks, we could end up without a devastating surge that we are preparing for,” she said.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.