Michigan Governor Whitmer Urges a 'Surge' in COVID Vaccine Doses Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (AP)
Tom Schoenberg and Kristen V. Brown Sunday, 11 April 2021 04:55 PM
The federal government needs to urgently “surge” vaccine doses into the state of Michigan in order to combat a spike in coronavirus cases there, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.
More contagious variants, widespread pandemic fatigue, and large numbers of people who have never been exposed to COVID-19 have created a critical infection situation in the state, she said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“We are seeing a surge in Michigan despite that we have some of the strongest policies in place,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer on Friday called for Michiganders to voluntarily suspend social activities for two weeks, and asked the federal government to prioritize additional vaccines to the state, to help slow the spread in the hottest COVID-19 spot in the nation.
The U.S. needs a system that allocates additional vaccines to states that are experiencing surges, Whitmer said Friday at a press briefing. In the meantime, she urged high schools to shift back to remote learning, diners to avoid indoor seating, and youth sports leagues to suspend games and practices.
The Biden administration said on Friday that it would provide additional resources, such as testing, but that the state would have to make do with its current allocation of vaccine doses, which is based on population, not surges.
On “Face the Nation,” Whitmer said the state was grateful for the support, but it wasn’t enough. “I am going to continue fighting for my state,” she said.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, on the same show, supported the call to send additional vaccine doses to Michigan.
“We need to get into the habit of trying to surge resources to hot spots,” said Gottlieb. “It’s not just Michigan, it’s the entire Great Lakes Region.”
Michigan has reported more than 53,000 cases in the past week, more than any other U.S. state, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s had 533 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days, also the nation’s highest rate. Hospitalizations and deaths are also rising.
A month ago, Michigan’s case rate was 108 per 100,000.
Michigan has 2,262 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the U.K. variant, according to CDC data. Only Florida has more.
Earlier, on CNN’s “Inside Politics,” Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist suggested that in addition to variants, younger people and the expansion of small social gatherings in particular were contributing to the rising case numbers.
“That’s why we must respond to this hot spot directly in the entire state of Michigan with an increase in vaccine doses from the federal government,” he said.
As of April 9, Michigan had administered enough doses for 26.3% of its population, just below the U.S. average, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. The state has given more than 1 million doses in the past two weeks, for a total of more than 5 million.
Meanwhile, the spread in cases is happening fastest among young people, and Michigan just started making vaccines available to residents 16 and over on April 4.