Michigan in Worst COVID-19 Surge Yet

By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
The State of Michigan is struggling with the anticipation of its next COVID-19 surge. With hospital and Intensive Care Unit Beds slowly approaching capacity, variants of the Coronavirus spreading, and new limitations of governmental action, this surge is going to be different from others for the state.

As of Nov. 24, Hospital Beds across much of the state were filled at around 85% capacity. This is worrisome.

“If we don’t curb the current growth of COVID inpatient hospitalizations, there are only so many team members and so many beds in our community,” said Rob Riney president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer for Henry Ford Health System. “The math will not work. We will have to curtail other operations. We do not want to do that. That’s one of the reasons we’re asking for everyone’s help.”

On Nov. 15, Riney walked through patient units at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. What he heard from countless healthcare workers helping throughout inpatient units was discouraging. “They haven’t gotten a break,” Riney said. “It’s really hard to explain the kind of stress level when it’s one surge after another surge.”

While these alarming statistics are only rising during a period of exponential growth for new cases. As many as 18,700 new cases have been found daily in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. All this is coming under a completely new context for Michigan’s COVID Response, with all new challenges along with it.

In October of last year, the Michigan Supreme Court released a Majority Opinion on the limits of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s power to declare a State of Emergency. Her power to declare States of Emergency, the Supreme Court says, has expired a long time ago. Although she can bring a new declaration in front of Michigan’s legislature, so far it hasn’t been promising.

Whitmer’s power to declare a State of Emergency ended Apr. 30, 2020, writes the Michigan Supreme Court. Along with that, various conservative groups around Michigan have fought hard for limitations on the state government’s authority to address spikes in COVID-19.

One such group, Moms for Liberty, has been an active voice in school board meetings. As the question of mask mandates continue in schools and daycare centers, Moms for Liberty has been a voice of protest against such mandates, calling on schools to let parents choose how schools respond to the pandemic.

Many criticize the organization as being a disruptive voice at School Board Meetings across the country. Parents who are part of the organization have been barred or ejected from local school board meetings around the state for their tactics of protest against school mask mandates, or the introduction of critical race theory, among other contemporary questions surrounding education.

In response to this criticism, members of the organization’s Florida chapters have said that they’re not against mask, but rather “We are against forcing masks on children who might have sensory issues, or are disabled, or have anxiety issues, etc,” said Joy Stricker, a member of Moms for Liberty. “We are in favor of parental choice when it comes to forcing masks on minors for seven hours a day.”

Healthcare experts and healthcare workers are at a consensus that mask and vaccinations are the most important tools we have in fighting the spread of COVID-19. However, Michigan has been hovering at around 50% vaccination rate for the past eight months.

“We cannot emphasize enough that the best way for us to get this under control is by getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Adnan Murikarah, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for Henry Ford Health System. “There is no question that vaccines do work. The data has been very consistent and the evidence has been rising both nationally as well as globally.

“People who are vaccinated are five to six times less likely to get the infection and 10 to 11 times less likely to be hospitalized.”

According to data compiled by the New York Times, as much as one in 10 new cases have been found in Michigan.

In response, the state of Michigan has issued a “Face Mask Advisory” to help curb the rapid spread of COVID-19.

“The increase in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS Director. “We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”

The State of Michigan is currently in its worst COVID-19 spread, with its seven day average at 1,000 cases higher on average. Medical professionals and Healthcare experts all agree that masks and vaccines are the most important way to ease the spread of a pandemic entering its third year.