Indiana’s neighbor sees virus surge after lifting restrictions

Michigan, which not long ago had one of the country’s lowest COVID-19 infection rates, is confronting an alarming spike that some experts worry could be a harbinger nationally.

In what public health authorities across the U.S. have been warning for months might happen around the country, the resurgence is being fueled by loosened restrictions, a more infectious variant and pandemic fatigue.

While vaccinations in Michigan are helping to protect senior citizens and other vulnerable people, the upswing is driving up hospitalizations among younger adults and forcing a halt to in-person instruction at some schools.

“It’s a stark reminder that this virus is still very real. It can come roaring back if we drop our guard,” said Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who does not plan to tighten restrictions on indoor dining, sports and other activities that were eased in recent months.

Michigan last year saw some of the nation’s fiercest resistance to lockdowns, including armed demonstrations at the state Capitol and an alleged right-wing plot to kidnap the governor.

Whitmer contended Thursday at a Michigan Chronicle event that this surge is different from last fall and spring in part because of the vaccine, which has been given to nearly two-thirds of residents 65 and older—those most at risk of dying. COVID-19 hospitalizations, though higher in recent weeks, remain below the peak from December.

Still, the coronavirus’s spread is concerning at a time many adults have not yet gotten a dose.

Over the past two weeks, Michigan’s seven-day average of new cases per day has increased 122%—the largest change in the U.S.—rising to 3,753 from 1,687, the biggest jump in raw figures, too. The state’s seven-day per-capita case rate is third-highest, behind New York and New Jersey. Michigan reported more than 5,200 new cases Thursday, the most in over three months. The death rate has been steady.

“It’s very troublesome and very worrisome,” said Dr. Dawn Misra, an epidemiology and biostatistics professor at Michigan State University.

She cautioned that the trend should not be blamed solely on a variant that has been identified more in Michigan than in all but one other state, Florida, noting that lags and disparities in the amount of genetic analysis being done on the virus around the U.S. make comparisons difficult.

“We’re doing a lot of things that lead to increases in risk. That’s where it’s coming from,” said Misra, who urged health officials to emphasize strategies such as double-masking.

Nationwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 545,000 people. With the vaccine rollout hitting its stride, deaths have plummeted to fewer than 1,000 a day on average, down from a peak of more than 3,400 in mid-January. New cases have plunged as well but are running at a still-worrisome average of more than 57,000 per day, and the trend is reversing itself in some states.

Michigan will soon require regular testing of all teen athletes amid outbreaks that occurred after a monthslong ban on contact sports was lifted. About 100 teams are sitting out the boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments.

And some schools are temporarily closing or delaying their long-anticipated reopenings.

The Lansing school district, which has 10,000 students, had planned to resume face-to-face learning for the first time next week, starting with grades four through six. But the reopening was pushed off to April 12, after spring break, because of rising virus cases in the community.

“We’re back to where we were right after Christmas with some of our numbers,” Superintendent Sam Sinicropi said Thursday. “I understand the importance of kids being there and staff being there. But we’re going to make the call because of what’s happening in our area.”

Keith Elementary School in the Walled Lake district suspended in-person instruction last week because of suddenly troubling numbers there.

“It’s one of the things that keeps me awake at night. We watch the numbers like we would watch the stock market,” Superintendent Ken Gutman said on a YouTube video.

One of Michigan’s largest high schools, Utica Eisenhower in Macomb County, stopped in-person classes Tuesday until April 19, after 40 students tested positive and more than 400 were quarantined as a result.

“It’s certainly been a yo-yo ride,” said Susan Milosavljevic, whose daughter, Natasha, is a junior. “We aren’t mad at the school. They have been taking all the precautions, making sure students are wearing masks. Unfortunately there may be a few who test positive.”

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13 thoughts on “Indiana’s neighbor sees virus surge after lifting restrictions

    1. Sure.

      If you’d like another data point to ignore, Holcomb lifted restrictions in the run up to the election. Our cases spiked after that, too.

      Amazing how many people who look towards the past and want everything to be how it was many years ago can’t be bothered to learn from the history of the past 12 months.

    2. Thankfully, for the umpteenth thousand time (such repetition is necessary for the ideologically possessed), the extremely–even comically–low death rate of <.2% means that a surge of cases is meaningless.

      The only way a change in case numbers would serve as any clear indicator of COVID spread is if its held up against a constant–i.e., the exact same levels of testing were administered to the exact same percentage of population in the exact same fashion amidst identical geographies. Then you'd have a basis of comparison that's credible. This does not and cannot exist, and you cannot equalize for all these variables and expect meaningful, credible data. A spell of really bad weather can cause a downtick in cases in a certain location, simply because fewer people are going out and seeking the tests. Similarly, cases can spike on a three day weekend because people have that extra day off and they have a mild headache, so why not?

      Intellectually honest people know this. Intellectually honest people, in 2021, by and large do not become journalists. Certainly not for the Associated Press.

      "15 Days to Flatten the Curve" was what we learned 12 months ago.. Like I said earlier this morning, that is as big of a lie as when conservatives told us about 20 years ago that Saddam Hussein had a cache of WMD in Iraq–let's invade them. BS information used to mobile huge amounts of dollars, resources, and to expend human lives in the face of what was largely a lie. (But it was, in both cases, a WELL-INTENTIONED lie, so it's all good.)

    3. Where do you get less than .2% death rate. .2% of the entire U.S. population of 330M would be 660,000. Since we’re approaching 550,000 U.S. COViD deaths, do you have some evidence to suggest 5 out of 6 Americans have been exposed to the virus?

    4. Paul Paul Paul. Those of us who sniff through the propaganda learned a long long time ago that, per the CDC’s admission, virtually all COVID deaths (94%) were people with comorbidities, meaning that the 550K is a number of hyperbole and that probably only about 35K died from COVID itself. We have massive numbers of COVID reports at the time of death because hospitals get financial incentives when they report COVID. The press, eager to push an agenda of COVID as a mega-killer, fails to make this distinction.

      I was mistaken. For people under 50 years old, the survival rate is 99.98%, 50 to 65 is 99.5% and 70+ is 94.6%–and since there’s no top range for that final age cutoff, it’s reasonable to presume that the survival rate for 70-79 is considerably higher than 94.6% and only drops below 90% survival for the 90+ crowd.

      Aggregate all these age brackets and you are dealing with about a 99.8% survival rate, maybe 99.7 or 99.6% at lowest. Let’s also keep in mind that huge numbers of people who are exposed to the virus and show no symptoms and thus don’t even know they have it. They wouldn’t even register on these metrics, since they’re not even getting a diagnosis.

    5. Paul, don’t bother. He’s one of those Q anon types who thinks because he’s read a bunch of BS on the Internet, he’s smarter than everyone else. Because a guy who is too embarrassed to use his own first name commenting on a website is smarter than all the epidemiologists and the infectious disease doctors… AND the media.

      As if the only outcomes from COVID are life and death. No long haulers, no one who has to deal with reduced lung function or anything else. You just magically recover 100% like nothing ever happened in 99.8% of all cases! And everyone else who died? Well, most of them had it coming, so it’s OK.

      The reason for anonymity becomes clear after you think about it.

  1. Robert H. – Yeah, lol. What a complete shill. Your politics accuse you – of upholding historical damage to our children and economy. If you’re a business person, please expose yourself. I would surely not do business with you.

    1. While I think you might be taking an extreme reaction, you’re right that Robert did kind of do a “self-own”. He takes the notion of one of the most universally recognized and widespread logical fallacies–“correlation is not causation”–and he mocks it. Almost as though he’s proving that his entire system of reasoning depends on logical fallacies to survive. No doubt explains why they’re so dead-set on censoring everyone who challenges them. It’s not like they can actually defend the cases they’re trying to make!

    2. “Correlation is not causation” is the biggest shill I’ve seen. The only appropriate response is to dismiss it. Maybe hop on Google Scholar and read some studies about the relationship between restrictions and COVID spread instead of stewing over three letters here.

    3. Yep, Robert, you are a living breathing example of the dependency of logical fallacies to create your Unicornia. Another one is the availability heuristic–you know, the notion that because something receives a high degree of messaging that, for some reason, it reflects social norms, even though it really only reflects how aggressively promulgated the message is. Case in point: the delusion about “a rise in Asian hate” because one extreme example in Georgia (a dude who hated Asians so much he paid for them to give him “happy endings” at massage parlors), which then the smooth-brained contingent treats as reflective of a trend.

      “Why don’t the left ever learn from their mistakes?” was asked to me by someone back at a point when I myself was far more left-leaning than the current sham of the movement today. I only recently realized the answer: “They don’t believe they make mistakes”. ” I was wrong” is virtually never uttered by leftists because their entire moral code is built on searching for one new defense after another to keep their house of cards standing. It’s nice that they have so many industries–particularly Big Tech and the legacy media–eager to accommodate their delusion. But we’ll keep calling them out on it until they’ve sent us to the gulags…which we all know they want to do. As part of the “greater good”.

      I’ll keep shilling by pointing out these fallacies, as you continue to flip the bird toward reality. Cheers!

    4. What is it that I believe just because of aggressive messaging? Restricting the movement of people – some practical examples of which are reduced restaurant capacity, social distancing, and curfews – reduce the transmission of COVID. Masks, especially when widely adopted, also reduce COVID spread. COVID restrictions, in general, have aimed to restrict movement and get people to wear masks. Real science backs this up.

      The constitutionality of COVID restrictions can be argued about all day long. There is no question that many restrictions are constitutionally concerning and it has been very interesting watching issues getting taken up in courts. The science, however, is clear. Again, I implore you to fire up Google Scholar or go to the library and read studies for yourself. I’ve even linked a couple here for you.

      It seems like you’ve fallen victim to the availability heuristic – you get your information from outlets that have turned to pedaling extreme and often incorrect information to make the money necessary to keep operating. Also, I don’t know why you keep going on these weird, off-topic tangents. It’s very strange. I am not even a liberal: I am firmly a moderate.