Add the medical director of infection prevention at Beaumont Health to the list of experts who believe Michigan needs to mandate more COVID-19 restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
Dr. Nick Gilpin said Thursday (April 14) that he agrees with the director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, who believes Michigan needs to shut down to combat the alarming spread of COVID-19.
“I think that yes, we do have to have some level of commitment to restrict some of those activities in the community,” Gilpin said.
He pointed at how COVID-19 metrics improved after the stay-at-home order last spring and the two-and-a-half month pause this winter.
“If you also look back at our prior surges, what was the difference?” Gilpin asked. “The difference in the first surge that we experienced is that there were restrictions in the community to limit gathering sizes and limit indoor activities that we know are very effective ways to transmit coronavirus. We saw it in March and April of last year. We saw it in the fall and winter months in Michigan, and both of those surges, I believe, we curved, in part, because of active restrictions.”
Gilpin and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky both said it would be difficult for Michigan to turn its metrics around simply relying on vaccinations.
“It does take six weeks for the vaccine to reach full efficacy,” Gilpin said. For example, someone who gets the Moderna vaccine -- which requires two shots 28 days apart -- won’t have the full benefit for six weeks.
He said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has said multiple times in the last week that she doesn’t plan to mandate more restrictions, is in a very difficult position of balancing the virus with the “radioactive political environment.”
But with the statewide case and positivity rates five times higher than they were in mid-February, he thinks the right move is to issue more restrictions.
“At a time like this, right now, in Southeast Michigan and Michigan at large, I do think that we have to be a little bit more prescriptive right now,” Gilpin said.