Whitmer attributes Michigan's case surge to rise in variants, failure to follow health protocols

Posted at 11:52 AM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 18:19:07-04

(WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attributed Michigan's current COVID-19 surge to a rise in contagious variants, increased mobility and failure to follow health protocols.

Dr. Fauci: Michigan may have re-opened too quickly, potentially causing spike in COVID-19 cases

At an event for veterans in Chesterfield Township, Whitmer said the surge is not a failure of policy, it's a failure of following protocols. She reiterated that the state is moving as fast as it can to vaccinate people.

"If we see serious hospital numbers or increased variants, we may have to make some changes," she said.

In an interview with 7 Action News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it's "very likely" Michigan may have opened up too soon which could be causing the massive surge in COVID-19 cases.

Fauci said the pressure to pull back could be causing the spike.

"I think the idea of pulling back prematurely, under pressure, it's understandable why you might want to do that, but the results, I think, are being manifested in what you're seeing in Michigan," he said.

"I hesitate to criticize anything the governor did because she's really quite a good governor," Fauci said.

In response, Whitmer said that while she respects Dr. Fauci, Michigan is not in the same position compared to other states that have dropped mask mandates.

"We've had a very strategic response to the virus," she said. "Variants are here, and with that, increased abandonment of protocols and mobility."

The state shut down in mid-November due to a surge, but reopened bars and restaurants in February to 25% capacity, then increased it to 50% on March 5.

The number of active cases in the state coincides with the surge in new cases. It went from 32,400 active cases on March 1 to 86,700 active cases on March 31, the highest number of active cases since early January.

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