Michigan continues to see COVID trends move in wrong direction

NOW: Michigan continues to see COVID trends move in wrong direction

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Tuesday, Michigan reported 4,964 new cases – just 30 days ago, on March 6, the daily case count was 1,161. 

Additionally, according to data tracking from The New York Times that shows graphs of all the states together, Michigan is also seeing the highest spike in the UK variant.

But – there could be even more than reported. 

“Not every single COVID-19 test is genotyped to see whether it is one of the variants, but we do know there have been several in Berrien County, several in Southwest Michigan and thousands in the state,” said Gillian Conrad, MPH, Communications Manager at the Berrien County Health Department.

The state also continues to be far beyond others in its number of cases per 100,000 people.

The CDC showed Michigan at 452, while states like Texas and Florida – which eased restrictions weeks ago – are drastically lower. 

“It’s hard to compare Michigan’s experience with other states at this time given that we’ve had different responses, mandates and without knowing the levels of testing happening,” said Conrad. “The B.1.1.7 UK variant we do believe is somewhat endemic in Michigan.”

Meanwhile, Michigan is still working toward vaccinating 70 percent of the population to build herd immunity – with just over 36 percent having their first dose. 

Conrad said despite the surge right now, it’s still better than the alternative to meeting that goal. 

“Building toward herd immunity naturally has consequences, people will be ill, in the hospital and die, that’s not what we want to do,” said Conrad. “It is believed that immunity gained through vaccination is stronger and longer lasting.”

A reminder, Michigan opened up vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older Monday.

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