CDC Director Warns Michigan ‘to Close Things Down’

CDC Director Warns Michigan 'to Close Things Down' a surgical mask with the michigan seal is held by rubber gloved hands (Dreamstime)

By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 12 April 2021 06:15 PM

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Monday that Michigan should “close things down” as COVID-19 cases rise in the state, Axios reports.

Walensky, speaking at a press briefing, called on Michigan officials “to close things down” after the state’s average daily case count rose dramatically in the last several weeks.

"The answer” to rising case numbers “is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer … to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we have available, to contact trace,” Walensky said on the conference call, according to CNBC.

“There are different tools that we can use for different periods” during an outbreak, she said. “We know that if vaccines go in arms today, we will not see an effect of those vaccines, depending on the vaccine, for somewhere between two to six weeks.”

Walensky added, “So when you have an acute situation, extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine. In fact, we know that the vaccine will have a delayed response.

“Similarly, we need that vaccine in other places,” Walensky said. “If we vaccinate today, we will have impact in six weeks, and we don’t know where the next place is going to be that is going to surge.”

She warned that it’s essential for Michigan to start shutting down, noting that "if we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work, to actually have the impact.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last Friday called on Michigan residents to voluntarily refrain from dining or gathering indoors, saying that "there's light at the end of this tunnel, but the recent rise in cases is a reminder that we are still in the tunnel.” She added, "That's the nature of this virus, the second we let our guard down it comes roaring back."

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said on CNN’s “Inside Politics” on Sunday that "What's happening in Michigan can spread through the Midwest and can spread to the rest of the country.”

White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt told reporters on Monday that the Biden administration is working to provide additional treatments for Michigan, but did not announce additional vaccine doses.

“We have to remember the fact that in the next two to six weeks, the variants that we’ve seen … in Michigan, those variants are also … present in other states,” Slavitt said on a conference call, according to Reuters.

“So our ability to vaccinate people quickly … (in) each of those states rather than taking vaccines and shifting it to playing Whack-a-Mole isn’t the strategy that public health leaders and scientists … have laid out,” he said.