The director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Michigan – and other states grappling with increased spread of COVID-19 – to impose restrictions to reduce infections.
At a coronavirus press conference, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky recommended that restrictions be put in place in Michigan to help slow the spread of the virus – especially in youth sports.
As the race between vaccinations and cases continues statewide, sadly, the cases are winning: 63 of Michigan’s 83 counties have seen a double-digit increase in positivity rates over the past week. Data shows COVID is spreading rapidly among young people in the state.
While people between the ages of 20 and 39 have the highest case rates – and result in hospitalizations from the virus in Michigan – K-12 schools top the list of coronavirus outbreak areas in the world. ‘State. High schools are particularly problematic.
Since January, basketball, hockey and wrestling have recorded the highest number of cases and clusters of COVID, with 376 cases linked to basketball and 256 to hockey.
In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, Dr Walensky is urging the state to impose restrictions on indoor contact sports for young people.
“I encourage communities to make adjustments to meet their unique needs and circumstances,” Walensky said. “For example, in areas of high or high community transmission, CDC guidelines specifically suggest refraining from playing sports for young people who are not outdoors and cannot be held at least six feet away. one of the other.”
The CDC director’s recommendation comes as Michigan leads the country in the spread of the virus, reporting the highest rate of COVID cases of any state over the past week. Coronavirus infections have increased rapidly statewide since mid-February, approaching numbers last seen during the November outbreak and the start of the pandemic.
Last week, the CDC said Michigan led the country in new COVID-19 cases by population. As of April 2, the state of Michigan led the United States in daily new COVID cases, viral infection rates and positive COVID test rates, according to data from Covid Act Now. That remains true as of April 8, with the exception of infection rates: Puerto Rico topped Michigan’s COVID infection rate, now leading the country with a rate of 1.22, the data shows. Michigan’s infection rate is 1.21 on Thursday, which means that every person who contracts COVID infects, on average, 1.21 other people.
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Health officials are particularly concerned about the rise in hospitalizations in Michigan amid the virus outbreak, especially in a smaller age group.
According to state data, hospitalization rates double every 12 to 14 days. At this rate, Michigan is rapidly approaching the peaks seen in December and last spring. If current trends continue, Michigan could surpass its highest hospitalization levels by next Monday.
These numbers are alarming for younger age groups: According to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, hospitalizations have increased by 633 percent for adults aged 30 to 39 and by 800 percent for adults aged 40 to 49 between March 1 and March 23.
The change in age groups hospitalized in Michigan is likely related to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines, as older and more vulnerable populations were initially prioritized. Still, health experts are concerned about the growing number of middle-aged Michigan adults hospitalized with severe COVID-19.
Lily: MHA: Younger age groups lead to increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan
Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said hospitals can handle the increase in virus cases and hospitalizations.
“We know our hospitals are well equipped to deal with these surges,” Hertel said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We’ve seen them do it a few times now, unfortunately.”
Despite the increase in COVID infections and hospitalizations, and recommendations from the CDC, Michigan officials maintained their plan was to prioritize vaccines to combat the outbreak of the virus, not to impose new restrictions. .
“Our current goal continues to ensure that we get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Hertel said. “We still have a number of restrictions in place that limit the size of gatherings.”
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Hertel also noted that while high school indoor sports have been a source of infections, these sports will end soon, and spring sports are outdoors where close contact is less likely. When Michigan’s youth sports restrictions were lifted in February, officials did not say whether or not they would be open to imposing new restrictions if conditions changed, saying instead they would “monitor numbers”.
The state has imposed regular, mandatory COVID-19 testing on teenage athletes to help slow the spread of the virus – although some parents are strongly against it.
Vaccinations have stepped up statewide, with eligibility criteria now extended to all residents aged 16 and over. Health officials are pushing for younger populations to be vaccinated as quickly as possible in response to the state’s viral outbreak.
Related: What does a full COVID vaccination really look like?
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