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Latest Michigan surge tests discipline, will of state residents

If the past 13 months have left you feeling like you’re living in the classic Bill Murray film, “Groundhog Day,” you’re not alone. But with the recent surge in our state, it’s definitely not time to let our guard down.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that Michigan should “close things down” to help address the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak, days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instead urged people to voluntarily restrict certain activities, according to an article by The Associated Press.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky made the statement after being asked about some public health experts’ calls to send additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the state, for which the governor has been advocating. The administration of President Joe Biden has stuck with allocating to states proportionally by population.

“So when you have an acute situation, extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine,” Walensky said, explaining that it takes two to six weeks to see the effect of vaccinations. “The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test … to contact trace.”

Michigan hospitals on Monday reported treating about 3,900 adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases, which surpassed a previous peak from Dec. 1 and was close to the state’s record high from last April of roughly 4,000. The seven-day average of daily new cases was 7,359 as of Saturday, up from 4,661 two weeks prior, according to Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of daily deaths, 43, more than doubled from 20 during the same period.

Earlier Monday, Whitmer again said Michigan’s third surge is different because of vaccines and, unlike a year ago, it is known that masks are effective and the state has adequate testing and personal protective equipment. She has urged — but not required — a two-week suspension of in-person high school instruction, youth sports and indoor dining.

“We each have enough information to do our part,” she said after touring a vaccination clinic at Eastern Michigan University. “That’s what we’re calling on people to do — to do your part.”

Our state is treading into some very dangerous territory, and it’s very important that all of us recognize that. We are concerned that the warm weather will cause Michiganders to want to go out and participate in life as usual, and that just isn’t what our state needs right now. In order to avoid another lockdown, we must all continue to follow the guidelines by the CDC — wear your mask, maintain social distancing, and consider getting the vaccine.

With summer right around the corner, no one wants a repeat of last year. So please, do your part.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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