Michigan leads US in number of Covid cases with 10 new cases each | Coronavirus

Michigan now leads the country in new Covid cases and hospitalizations, accounting for about one in ten new cases in the US, even though the state represents only 3% of the country’s population.

Cases in the US are up 18% in the past week, but some states have seen a much more dramatic rise. In Michigan, the number of new cases has increased by 67% and the number of new hospitalizations by 46% in the past two weeks.

“It’s mind-boggling,” Aron Sousa, interim dean of the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, told The Guardian.

A week or so ago, cases in the state were fairly stable, at about 5,000. Then they shot to about 8,000 in just a few days. “It was amazing, the rapid increase,” Sousa said.

Now hospitals are full and patients are being treated in corridors and recovery lounges, while the number of deaths rises.

“It’s actually as bad as or worse than during our last major peak in April or the peak we saw the November-December before that,” Sousa said.

And what’s happening in Michigan is a sign of what’s likely to happen in other parts of the US, especially in low-vaccination states.

“I don’t think there’s anything unique about Michigan,” Adam Lauring, an associate professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Michigan Medical School, told The Guardian.

Some northern states have seen big increases lately as people moved indoors in cooler weather. But as winter and the holidays approach, other states may see similar dramatic increases.

“This is exactly what happened last November. The timing is almost exact, when we had our fall wave,” Lauring said.

More than half of the state, 54.8%, is now fully vaccinated, which is lower than the national average.

More than 10% of children aged 5 to 11 have received the first dose of the vaccine. Several school districts, facing outbreaks and staff shortages, are temporarily closed.

“The best predictors of the number of cases will be your vaccination rate,” Lauring said. “The provinces with high vaccination coverage have lower cases.”

The reasons for an increase in the number of cases are complex. “However, those not vaccinated contribute disproportionately to hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 in Michigan,” Chelsea Wuth, a public information officer with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told The Guardian in an email. . Three-quarters of the recent hospitalizations and deaths were among those who were not fully vaccinated.

“As more people are vaccinated, the virus is less likely to circulate and mutate, avoiding the development of more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants in the future,” Wuth said.

“If you’re not vaccinated, you’ll get it,” Sousa said. And “there are still a lot of people who haven’t gotten sick before and haven’t been vaccinated,” so the increase is likely to continue for at least a few weeks.

Experts hope that higher vaccination rates will mean that an increase in the number of cases will not necessarily lead to more hospitalizations or deaths. While vaccinated people can get breakthrough infections, they are much less likely to become very ill or die from Covid – which also puts less strain on health systems.

In response to the increasing number of cases, Michigan last Friday recommended that all residents over the age of 2 wear a face mask indoors, and urged the early use of monoclonal antibodies among those who test positive and vaccinations for all eligible.

“The number of Covid-19 cases is high as we move into the holidays, and we must take every possible precaution to keep our families and loved ones safe – which starts with getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, medical director, in a statement.

The University of Michigan is also seeing a major flu outbreak, with 760 cases reported since early October. The flu and other respiratory illnesses can strain hospitals during normal times; Putting Covid on top of a bad flu year could be catastrophic.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of cases to overwhelm a hospital system,” Lauring said.

It’s not just about not having enough space in hospitals to treat patients. “You need to have enough staff to take care of everyone,” Sousa said, including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians, phlebotomists and housekeepers. “And all those people have been working hard for barely two years.”

However, a wave of cases is not inevitable. Proven precautions can now help slow the rise.

“In the end we know what we have to do. We need people to be vaccinated, we need people to mask and we need people to create a little space between us,” Sousa said.

Vaccination, in particular, is critical to prevent long-term Covid, serious illness and death – and ultimately to end the pandemic.

“Until we have built up enough immunity, through vaccination or infection, we will continue to have these spikes,” Lauring said.

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