Michigan becomes the new epicenter of COVID-19

Lansing, Michigan Michigan has become the newest coronavirus epicenter in the United States, but why is a mystery.

“I don’t know what’s going on here. Michigan is one of the hardest hit,” Scott Niswonger said.

Dr. Meredith Hill, director of the emergency room at Sparrow Hospital, said the increase has been more dramatic than the previous two weeks. “I think there is obviously more community right now,” he said.

Niswonger, a COVID-19 patient, said his son may have been infected at his daycare. He’s been at Lansing Sparrow Hospital since Friday.

“We all went and did tests and they all came out positive and it’s been a downhill spiral since then,” Niswonger said. “It feels like someone, a 500 pound guy just sits on my chest and I can’t push him off.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the latest increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide is driven by younger americans. A theory: a possible link to school reopens and after-school sports.

“We are learning that many outbreaks in youth are related to youth sports and extracurricular activities. According to the CDC guidance, these activities should be limited,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.

There has also been an increase in variant B.1.1.7 which originated in the UK and is now believed to be responsible for a third of all cases in the US.

“We know that B.1.1.7 is more transmissible, somewhere between 50% and 100% more transmissible. We do not yet know if it is more transmissible specifically in different age demographics,” Walensky said.

But there is also good news at the national level. Four million vaccinations were reported on Saturday. At least 23% of American adults are fully vaccinated and 40% have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.

Starting Monday in Michigan, anyone 16 and older can get vaccinated, joining 27 other states to expand eligibility.

“You get really excited because a vaccine has come out and it’s kind of discouraging to see the spread outweigh the vaccine,” Hill said. “We’re just trying to sustain each other and stay as positive as we can.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the attribution of a quote about the increase in COVID cases in Michigan to Scott Niswonger, a COVID-19 patient.


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