Michigan ends horrid week with 8,500 new Covid cases; How to stay safer as crisis widens

November 13, 2020, 2:55 PM by  Alan Stamm

A week of near-daily Covid records in Michigan wraps up with another grim milepost.

The state adds 8,516 confirmed diagnoses and 118 deaths, passing its previous high for single-day cases -- 6,940 on Wednesday.

(Graphic: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

Since March, 7,929 people have died in Michigan from Covid-related causes, says the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 39 percent of fatalities -- 3,114 -- were in Wayne County. Detroit and the rest of Wayne rank ninth nationally among hard-hit counties, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

More than eight months into this plague nightmare, a new set of public health advisories are issued.

It's not enough to avoid crowds, close-talkers and those with slipped-down masks, professionals warn. It's now best to avoid classrooms, recreational sports and socializing indoors with any non-family members, they say. That means no poker nights, baby showers, book club parties or other group fun.

"A record-breaking surge in U.S. coronavirus cases is being driven to a significant degree by casual occasions that may feel deceptively safe, officials and scientists warn — dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools," The Washington Post says.

Public health officials nationwide say [Covid] case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings. This behind-doors transmission trend reflects pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles.

"We let our guard down," the paper quotes a specialist as saying.

Message at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's briefing Thursday. (Photo: State of Michigan viudeo)

"Pandemic fatigue has set in," echoes a recent post by the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which notes that people hear "mixed messages from political leaders on the value of masking and distancing to contain the resurgence this winter."

Limited restaurant or gym occupancy, or even the operation of hair salons, are not driving this current resurgence. Rather, we are increasingly observing this fall that transmission is happening in small gatherings related to youth sports or among family and friends in their homes.

As the weather becomes colder, these gatherings are taking place indoors, often in the absence of strict mask use, creating the perfect conditions for a virus that can spread among people who are crowded into a poorly ventilated space.

The medical specialists give this advice:

  • Avoid large holiday parties.

  • Stay out of bars. (Officials should set "curfews and/or very limited occupancy.")

  • Don't participate in indoor sports, "which we know are causing transmission that spills into the community."

"The potential for on-field spread may be too overwhelming to continue safely with team competition during periods of widespread community transmission," the Philadelphia hospital policy team advises.

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