Michigan is ‘on fire’
Michigan’s surge is a combination of two factors, Gounder says: the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant combined with people relaxing on mitigation measures before enough residents are vaccinated.
Here’s why: It takes about two weeks after the Pfizer and Moderna second doses and about two weeks after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before people are immune, she said. Meanwhile, Gounder added, “the incubation period, which is the time from when you are exposed to when you are infected with coronavirus, is four to five days.”
“So there is no way that a surge in vaccination is going to help curb this when transmission is happening right now,” she said. “The hard truth is that the only thing that will curb transmission right now are measures that take effect immediately.” For example, masking up, not dining indoors, and socializing outdoors, she added.
“Hospitals are being inundated,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN. “Michigan needs to shut down.”
But he added the government should send more vaccines to the state.
“Think about it this way: Every year during fire season, when forest fires get out of control, we don’t just leave the states to manage as best they can. We surge firefighting forces into those states. So Michigan is on fire now. And we need to put that out,” he said.
Other state leaders alarmed
But it’s not just Michigan.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the state was seeing rising Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions and urged residents to get vaccinated to avoid another surge.
“This is a race,” he said. “We are in a race. And it’s a life-and-death race.”
Also last week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy expressed concern over the state’s consistently high Covid-19 case numbers and what could be ahead.
“It’s why we are continuing to enforce things like our statewide mask mandate, especially for indoor activities where we know the transmission is more likely,” Murphy said. “It’s also why we moved up our vaccine eligibility timeframe aggressively.”
US needs to address vaccine hesitancy, expert says
Some experts say the US could beat another potential surge in the coming weeks if Americans hold on a little longer and continue to practice safety measures while more of the population is vaccinated against the virus.
“The way to do that is to vaccinate like crazy,” he said.
But there are challenges ahead.
“The last 20 to 30% are going to be the hardest because a lot of folks in this country are still hesitant to get the vaccine. We’re seeing it all over the country,” Reiner said. “We need to really get down on the grassroots level, talk to people about their hesitancy and get shots into arms.”
“Because if we don’t vaccinate that last 30% or so, we’re still going to have to live with this virus for a very long time.”
CNN’s Anna Sturla contributed to this report.