The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that MI 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.
Michigan's current coronavirus outbreak is the worst one in the U.S., and now the state's governor and the White House are in what CNN refers to as a "standoff" (or, if you prefer the New York Times' take, "at loggerheads") over vaccines. It is also sending more diagnostic testing and setting up more testing sites. But Whitmer, a strong supporter of Biden's who was once under consideration to be his vice president, seems unlikely to succeed in her quest for more doses, something Biden's top health advisers made clear Monday, as one warned they aren't going to play "whack-a-mole" with vaccines. MI is a political battleground state that Biden won in 2020, helping to secure his victory over former President Donald Trump, a Republican.
"We are seeing hospitalisations going up".
Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that data shows that most new cases of COVID-19 are occurring in younger people, and that the agency has seen clusters of cases caused by youth sports and daycare centers. "Lives depend on it", she said during a news conference.
Walensky said the best way to address the situation in MI is to "close things down", the way much of the United States did early in the pandemic one year ago. We could get more vaccines in arms. Therefore, it would take several weeks for the surge to slow down after successful vaccination efforts.
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Speaking on "Face the Nation", Whitmer said the White House should reconsider, pointing out that even though MI has some of the harshest COVID restrictions in the country, cases are continuing to rise. She was a frequent target of criticism from Trump.
In Michigan, one in every 194 people was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week - the highest rate in the U.S. The state's case rates have been rising since mid-February and hospitalizations have been increasing since early March.
J&J has faced delays on vaccine shipments because of challenges at its Emergent plant, which ruined 15 million doses in recent weeks due to manufacturing error.
Senior White House COVID-19 Adviser Andy Slavitt said the government is sending more personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to MI to get vaccinations delivered faster.