Morning Briefing Aug. 20, 2021: Hearing over Michigan bill to ban vaccine, mask mandates filled with misinformation, conspiracy theories, outright lies

Here are this morning’s top stories

For weeks, there have been protests over vaccine mandates for employees.
For weeks, there have been protests over vaccine mandates for employees.

Hearing over Michigan bill to ban vaccine, mask mandates

For weeks, there have been protests over vaccine mandates for employees.

A lot of employees said they’re feeling pressured or intimidated to get a shot they don’t want, but a lot of those reasons are based on faulty and potentially dangerous conspiracies.

Those conspiracies were on display Thursday in Lansing as lawmakers listened to testimony about House Bill 4471, which would prevent employers from mandating vaccines, masks or even asking about vaccination status. The hearing quickly devolved into an unfounded -- and often completely false -- conspiracy about the vaccine itself.

Among the speakers were several known anti-vaccine doctors, including Dr. Christina Parks -- a Ph.D. who pushes debunked theories about vaccines causing autism and the benefits of hydroxichlorquine; Dr. James Neuenschwander -- who was disciplined in 2015 by the state medical board for negligence; and Dr. Moehanid Talia -- who accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of funding and profiting from the spread of outbreaks dating back to the early 2000s.

While the testimony was questioned by some lawmakers, many stayed silent.

See the full story here (or watch in the video player above).


Poll: Majorities of American adults want vaccination mandates for movies, sports, concerts, other crowded events

Anxiety in the United States over COVID-19 is at its highest level since winter, a new poll shows, as the delta variant rages, more states and school districts adopt mask and vaccination requirements and the nation’s hospitals once again fill to capacity.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds that majorities of American adults want vaccination mandates for those attending movies, sports, concerts and other crowded events; those traveling by airplane; and workers in hospitals, restaurants, stores and government offices.

The poll shows that 41% are “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or their family becoming infected with the virus. That is up from 21% in June, and about the same as in January, during the country’s last major surge, when 43% were extremely or very worried.

Read more here.


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Weather: Hot but dry Friday; weekend shower chance

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.
Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

COVID in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 925,377 as of Wednesday, including 20,076 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s update includes a total of 2,690 new cases and 46 additional deaths over a two-day period -- an average of 1,345 cases per day. Of the 46 deaths announced Wednesday, 15 were identified during a review of records.

The next data update from the state is expected Friday afternoon.

On Monday, the state announced a total of 922,687 cases and 20,030 deaths.

Testing has dropped to around 10,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate at 8.24% as of Wednesday, slightly higher than the previous week. The positive test rate has been steadily climbing since the end of June, when it was at its lowest. Hospitalizations have been slowly increasing for the last two weeks.

Cases are rising again in Michigan. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,339 on Wednesday -- a significant jump since the beginning of July. The 7-day death average was 13 on Wednesday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.2%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 27,000 on Monday.

Michigan has reported more than 9.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Tuesday, with 65% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 54.9% of 12+ residents are considered fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at more of the data:


💉 A look at Michigan’s COVID vaccine coverage by age group


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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.