Shutdowns needed in Michigan to slow COVID-19 spread, CDC director says

Michigan cannot rely on COVID-19 vaccinations alone to rein in rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during an April 12 news briefing.

Dr. Walensky said Michigan should enact shutdown measures to help flatten the curve and emphasized the importance of social distancing, testing and contact-tracing.

"When you have an acute situation, an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine[s]," she said during the briefing. "The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics."

She said the positive effects from vaccinations are often not seen in areas experiencing serious COVID-19 outbreaks for two to six weeks. 

"I think 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," she said.

Her comments come after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in late March asked the federal government to abandon its population-based vaccine allocation formula and instead send more doses to states facing surges. The U.S. has opted to keep its current allocation strategy, but is sending Michigan more federal resources to support vaccinations, testing and treatment, the White House said April 9.

As of April 12, Michigan had the highest COVID-19 case rate of all states, at 515.8 per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. The state still has a mask mandate and capacity limits in place for various in-person gatherings, but has not gone so far as to shut down businesses and schools as Ms. Whitmer has done with previous surges. On April 9, the governor asked Michigan residents to avoid indoor dining, in-person high school and youth sports for two weeks, reports The New York Times.

More articles on public health:
Fully vaccinated but COVID-19 positive? 4 notes on breakthrough case prevalence
1 in 4 American adults don't want a COVID-19 vaccine: NPR
COVID-19 death rates by state: April 12 


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