Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the federal government for additional vaccines as the state faces one of its worst Covid-19 surges since the pandemic started.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Whitmer said Michigan is “seeing a surge” of new cases even with stiff restrictions in place.
Last week, Michigan averaged more than 6,400 cases a day.
Whitmer told CBS that lack of herd immunity and emerging contagious Covid-19 variants are just some of the reasons for the recent surge.
“We kept our spread low for a long period of time, so we’ve got reservoirs of people that don’t have antibodies. We have variants, big presence of variants here in Michigan that are easier to catch. And people are tired and they’re moving around more,” Whitmer said.
However, MLive.com, citing health experts, reported that “while other states have the more contagious variants present and similarly reduced restrictions as Michigan, they aren’t experiencing the same surges.”
Some public health experts have been baffled over the cause of the surge.
Joseph Eisenberg, a global public health expert at the University of Michigan, said it could take years before researchers can understand which Covid-19 restrictions worked in curbing the spread of the virus, and which didn’t.
“It’s not as deterministic as some people think, the spread of a virus throughout a community,” he said. “I know it’s not a satisfying answer. Yes, variants may be playing a role and the fact that COVID fatigue is happening. It’s a combination of a lot of things but also, a lot of spread and outbreaks are what we call stochastic events. It’s random.”
The White House said last week that Michigan will not receive additional doses until more are distributed to states where people “have not yet been vaccinated.”
“We are seeing a surge in Michigan despite the fact that we have some of the strongest policies in place, mask mandates, capacity limits, working from home. We’ve asked our state for a two-week pause. So despite all of that, we are seeing a surge because of these variants,” Whitmer said on “Face the Nation.”
Whitmer’s request for more vaccines comes after The New York Times reported Michigan is trailing other states in the number of administered vaccinations.
Michigan has used 78% of the Covid-19 doses it has received, compared to the 91% of used doses by neighboring Wisconsin, the 90% by Minnesota, or 95% by New Hampshire.
“I don’t think there’s a governor in the country that’s leaving any vaccines on the table. And I can tell you that’s certainly the case in Michigan. We are getting shots in arms. We got over a million shots in arms just in the last two weeks. So we have really been rolling,” said Whitmer.
Despite not getting vaccines, Whitmer went on to praise the White House for its current support and said she is “grateful for the boots on the ground they are sending,” and the increased testing.
“Those are all really important and we are going to continue to work well with White House and we are grateful for that,” she said.
The comments are a stark contrast from Whitmer’s aggressive rhetoric toward the Trump administration’s handling of the distribution of medical supplies to states.
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Author: Damjan Tutarkov
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