Hit hard by COVID-19 surge, Michigan asks for more vaccine
ATLANTA - About 20% of Americans are now fully vaccinated, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says.
But, the Atlanta-based health agency is tracking regional outbreaks in the Midwest and Northeast, likely being fueled by the more contagious B.1.1.7. variant of the coronavirus.
Walensky says Michigan and Minnesota about both seeing surges in new infections.
"In both of these states, there is concern about transmission in youth sports, both club sports as well as sports affiliated with schools," Dr. Walensky says.
Friday, as Michigan reported 7,834 new daily infections, Governor Gretchen Whitmer urged high schools across the state to suspend their sports programs and in-person learning and asked residents to avoid indoor dining at restaurants for the next two weeks.
Whitmer also asked the Biden Administration to surge more vaccine to Michigan.
Federal health officials say they will send additional CDC and FEMA personnel to help with vaccinations and will deploy more COVID-19 testing supplies and therapeutics to the state.
THE LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS VACCINE
But, Jeff Zients, the head of President Biden's COVID-19 response team, says the Biden Administration does not plan to redirect vaccine to Michigan.
Doses are currently allocated to states and territories based on the size of their adult population.
"The virus is unpredictable," Zients says. "We don't know where the next increase in cases could occur."
Zients says the US is not yet halfway through its COVID-19 vaccination program.
"So, now is not the time to change course on vaccinate allocation," he says.
To reach a level of herd immunity to shut down transmission of the coronavirus, health officials estimate anywhere from 70% and 85% of Americans would either need to be vaccinated or develop natural immunity after recovering from being infected by the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), urged Americans not to get fixated on vaccinating a certain percentage of the population.
"I think we need to get away from this mystical, elusive number and just to say get as many people as we possibly can get vaccinated, as quickly as possible," Fauci says.
Doing that, Fauci says, would drive down infections, which would, in turn, drive down hospitalizations and deaths.
"The important thing we keep emphasizing is, that, every day that goes by, when we get 3 to 4 million people vaccinated, we get closer and closer to that endpoint of where we want to be," Fauci says.
The US reported nearly 75,000 new cases Thursday.
While new infections and hospitalizations in younger Americans are going up, both are dropping in people age 65 and older, who are more likely to now be fully vaccinated.
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