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Weekly COVID update with Dr. Abha: Kids & masks, resuming J & J vaccine

Posted at 1:51 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 13:51:32-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Each week we continue to speak with health experts about the latest on COVID-19 in Michigan.

Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Abha Gupta Varma, MD spoke Monday about the importance of getting kids to wear masks and when we can expect the J & J vaccine to resume.

We asked Dr. Abha about if closing the state down again will help curb the surge in Michigan.

Dr. Abha said relying on masks and vaccinations will not be enough as the latter measure will not offer immunity for 4-6 weeks from vaccine initiation.

Governor Whitmer has attempted strict mandates that kept the initial surge in Michigan down. She feels that the legislature and Supreme Court knocked down her usage of Gubernatorial power last year. She feels a reliance on masks, vaccines, and a strong recommendation are the tools she has available to use and leverage at this point, Dr. Abha said.

Dr. Abha said recommendations rely on the majority to accept and abide by. An example of a mandate vs a recommendation: (Spring break/snowbird) Travelers should be required to show proof of 3-5 d post travel negative COVID testing. Such a mandate would be the responsibility of the mandating school/employer and the returning student/employee to abide by. A mere recommendation on the CDC website does nothing to ensure, merely to promote, sound practices.

Initiating the vaccine process for minors and school going students does not curb the rate of infection pending full vaccination status as described (2 weeks post receipt of second dose of 2 dose options).

From the site:

1. Cases dropped below 1000 per day in mid-Feb.

2. Cases in April are at an average of 6000 per day.

3. Test positivity rate had fallen below 3% in February of this year.

4. Test positivity rate is currently around 17% as of April 13.

5. Health care capacity is rising: 600 daily hospital admission in Michigan this past week.

6. As of April 15, 4182 Michigan residents are hospitalized due to Covid19.

7. Under 60-year-old individuals account for 50% of the admissions.

8. Michigan leads the country in the number of cases and case rate in the last 7 days.

Current restrictions in effect April 19, 2021:

1. Indoor gatherings at residential spaces are not to exceed 15 from no more than 3 households.

2. Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 50 in residential settings, 300 or fewer in non-residential.

3. Places of entertainment and recreational facilities must comply with masking and distancing. Dance clubs, water parks and indoor playgrounds where such restrictions cannot be followed may not be open.

4. Patrons must be masked indoors except when eating and drinking.

5. Concerts, movies must not exceed 25 persons indoors or 300 outdoors.

6. Indoor occupancy is set at 50% restriction.