The head of the Centers for Disease Control Monday warned Michigan to impose new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised Michigan authorities to impose limits on gatherings and businesses to blunt the shocking surge of the virus, which doctors blame on more contagious variants.
“What we need to do in those situations is shut things down,” Walensky said.
Walensky rejected a plea from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the feds to send more vaccines to the state as an additional weapon in the ongoing battle with the virus.
The top public health expert said vaccines would do little to end the ongoing so-called spring surge in Michigan because vaccinations take weeks to protect people against the virus.
“If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed,” Walensky said in a White House briefing on the pandemic.
Whitmer has called on Michigan residents, schools and businesses to voluntarily implement measures to limit the spread, especially wearing masks and limiting contact with other people.
But she has refused to order new restrictions on gatherings, sports or indoor dining even as the virus is again spreading like wildfire.
Whitmer, who has been a lightning rod for conservative critics, hoped to get the feds on board for her proposal to rush vaccines, especially the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to the state.
Walensky countered a so-called effort to “surge” vaccines to badly affected states or regions would not be an effective tactic for countering the virus.
“We need that vaccine in other places,” Walensky said. “If we vaccinate today, we will have impact in six weeks and we don’t where the next place is going to be that is going to surge.”
Michigan is by far the state with the worst outbreak of COVID-19 right now.
The state recorded 7,359 a nationwide high of new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the last day that it released figures. The number of hospitalizations and deaths is also rising in Michigan, albeit gradually.
The U.S. is experiencing a modest rebound in coronavirus cases as more contagious strains take hold in some parts of the country. The tens of millions of vaccine doses, especially those given to the most vulnerable elderly people, have mostly helped keep a lid on hospitalizations and deaths.
Some public health experts predict the virus will surge across the country in the coming weeks and months, just like it is doing in Europe and other nations worldwide. Others believe the historic rapid pace of vaccinations will prevent such a so-called fourth wave in the U.S.
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