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CDC director says Michigan needs to lockdown again

Contradicts Whitmer’s focus on vaccinations

By Scott McClallen | The Center Square 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Photo from State of Michigan.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention disagree on the “science” behind solving Michigan’s COVID-19 case numbers, which have increased for seven weeks and are the worst in the nation.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said: “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.”

On Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation, Whitmer couldn’t fully explain the increase in cases. “We are seeing a surge in Michigan despite the fact that we have some of the strongest policies in place, mask mandates, capacity limits, working from home,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer implored President Joe Biden to boost vaccine numbers to Michigan to fight off rising case increases, but Biden declined.

Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, said in a Monday news briefing the federal government won’t change its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, “playing whack-a-mole” for hotspots by sending more doses to Michigan.

“We know that if vaccines go in arms today, we will not see an effect of those vaccines, depending on the vaccine, for somewhere between two to six weeks,” Walensky said. “So when you have an acute situation, an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily give vaccine.”

Walensky emphasized vaccines have a delayed response compared to economic shutdowns. 

“In fact, we know that the vaccine will have a delayed response. The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we have available, to contact trace.”

Whitmer has said Michigan’s third surge is “not a public policy problem,” but driven by more virus variants, youth sports, and people breaking COVID-19 rules, and can be solved by boosting vaccination numbers. However, that may be more difficult after federal health agencies Tuesday recommended an immediate pause in injecting the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six people developed a rare and severe type of blood clot after receiving the shot. (See related story here.)

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