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World Michigan Emerges as US COVID Epicenter as Gretchen Whitmer Marks 18 Days Without Briefing

19:21  06 april  2021
19:21  06 april  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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Michigan has emerged as the U.S. COVID-19 epicenter with a surging number of cases and hospitalizations, while Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not held a press conference in 18 days.

a person walking down the street talking on a cell phone: Michigan State Governor Gretchen Whitmer arrives for Electoral College votes at the state capital in Lansing, Michigan on December 14, 2020. © Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Michigan State Governor Gretchen Whitmer arrives for Electoral College votes at the state capital in Lansing, Michigan on December 14, 2020.

There were at least 10,293 new COVID-19 cases confirmed from Sunday to Monday, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health, as well as 21 new COVID-19-related deaths.

The surge in COVID-19 cases has also led to an increase in hospitalizations in Michigan. According to data from the state's department of health, roughly 78 percent of ICU hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

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Michigan has also seen the second-most cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan has reported at least 1,649 cases of this variant, which is second behind only Florida (3,191 cases).

This COVID-19 strain was designated as a "variant of concern" by the CDC and is known for having 50 percent increased transmission and "Likely increased severity based on hospitalizations and case fatality rates," according to the CDC.

Whitmer held her most recent press conference on March 19, when she notified residents that COVID-19 cases in the state were on the rise for the fourth consecutive week.

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"Cases have been rising since late February," Whitmer said. "Thankfully, deaths have remained low."

Newsweek reached out to Whitmer's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

During a recent press briefing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, "cases are increasing nationally, and we are seeing this occur predominately in younger adults."

Walensky also noted that vaccinating young adults would have a "massive impact" on the transmission of the virus.

In Michigan, more than 2.9 million residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine, which accounts for roughly 36.5 percent of the state's population.

Michigan recently expanded its vaccine eligibility, and as of Monday, residents age 16 or older were permitted to receive a vaccine. Despite the expanded eligibility, young adults in the state account for the largest group of residents yet to receive a vaccine.

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According to data from the state's department of health, at least 37,892 residents between the ages of 16 and 19 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is the lowest number across all age groups.

Newsweek reached out to the Michigan Department of Health for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Newsweek, in partnership with NewsGuard, is dedicated to providing accurate and verifiable vaccine and health information. With NewsGuard's HealthGuard browser extension, users can verify if a website is a trustworthy source of health information. Visit the Newsweek VaxFacts website to learn more and to download the HealthGuard browser extension.

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Michigan’s governor emphasizes voluntary efforts to curb the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the US .
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s actions fly in the face of mandatory restrictions she instituted last year.The decision to refrain from instituting mandatory restrictions is a striking development for a Democratic governor who last year garnered national attention for swiftly instituting and standing by social distancing laws even in the face of militant right-wing protests and a kidnapping attempt against her. This time around, even as her state is experiencing a full-blown crisis, she’s taking a softer approach in what may be a political calculation about her reelection prospects next year.

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