LANSING, Mich. – As Michigan endures another alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state is planning to fight the spread of the virus with masks and vaccines, not new restrictions.
After seeing a steady decline in cases for the better part of two months in December and January, Michigan officials re-engaged several segments of the economy in February, such as restaurants, entertainment venues and youth sports.
Since then, the state’s COVID-19 metrics have swung in the opposite direction, with case, hospitalization and death rates rising. Each of the last seven days have seen more than 4,000 new cases in Michigan, and three single-day totals over 5,000 have been reported in that span.
The last time Michigan saw a COVID-19 spike of this magnitude -- in October and November -- the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a pause that shut down indoor dining, gatherings and much more for more than two months.
While speaking Wednesday on CNN, Whitmer said that won’t be the state’s focus this time around.
Instead, she said the focus will remain on mask wearing and vaccinations. Earlier Wednesday morning, the state sent out a release declaring a goal to vaccinate 100,000 Michiganders each day.
Whitmer said Michigan had low COVID-19 numbers before this spike, so the increase is more drastic than states that already had larger numbers.
She also pointed to COVID-19 variants, such as B117, as a major reason for the spike in cases. It’s more important than ever to wear masks with these more infectious versions of the virus going around, Whitmer said.