Michigan's plan to fight the massive surge of COVID-19 cases

Posted at 6:19 AM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 06:19:01-04

State leaders are reacting to the massive surge in COVID-19 cases in Michigan over the last few weeks.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who hasn't hesitated to tighten restrictions during the pandemic, is doubling down on her daily vaccination goal instead.

Vaccination seems to be the main focus for the governor. It's also what one infectious disease doctor said is what's going to get us out of the pandemic. Two sites in Detroit – Ford Field and the TCF Center – are getting thousands of shots in arms per day.

"We haven't abandoned our protocols," Whitmer said. "it's just that we've got a higher proportion of variants, and part of that is people getting tired. There's fatigue, and there are variants, and there's more travel, and that's some of what the story is here."

Whitmer spoke on the national news about what she believes is the reason for Michigan's increased infection rate, making it the worst in the nation per capita, according to the CDC.

Youth sports and increasing restaurant capacity in early March are two other specific reasons she gave.

But, instead of going back to tighter restrictions, she doubled down yesterday on the state's vaccination goal, raising it from 50,000 shots per day to 100,000 per day.

"Well, we're watching this very closely," Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist added. "I get multiple briefings on the data and the trends multiple times a week, and it is concerning. The hospital stuff we're seeing is concerning."

According to the state's vaccine dashboard, there have been 2.7 million people who have gotten at least one vaccine dose as of Wednesday. The number of fully vaccinated Michiganders is 1.6 million.

When asked why the state hasn't held a press briefing in 12 days -- which coincides with the uptick -- Gilchrist said communication with the public takes place regularly beyond the podium.

"There are a lot of different ways that we communicate using different tools at our disposal," Gilchrist said, "and so when there's something to talk about at a press briefing, we've shown in the last year we have no reservation with holding a press briefing."