Nearly half of the new cases of COVID-19 in the United States are coming from only five states.
New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000.
These spikes in the infection rates are ridiculous because we know how to prevent them: restrict public venues where the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads. We know people packed into bars and restaurants breathing each other’s expelled air leads to new infections. Cases go up, yet the bars and restaurants remain open.
The state of Michigan is ground zero for new cases of COVID-19. The population of Michigan is less than 10 million. In the past 14 days, Michigan has had 84,353 new cases of COVID-19. In comparison, the population in Los Angeles County in California has a slightly larger population than Michigan. In the past 14 days, Los Angeles County has had 7,659 new cases of COVID-19.
Even though Michigan has ten times the number of new COVID-19 infections than a county of compatible size, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer refuses to do anything about it. She blames the new COVID-19 infections on “pandemic fatigue.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not a real thing. It’s not like growing tired of living in a pandemic makes you more susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It’s much more likely people living in Michigan are engaging in dangerous activities that make it easier for the virus to flow from person to person. On March 5, Whitmer raised indoor dining to 50% capacity. COVID-19 cases began a steady increase about two weeks after that. Is that a coincidence?
I doubt it. We know how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads from person to person. If Whitmer cared about Michigan’s people, she would place new restrictions on the activities that facilitate virus transmission. At the very least, she should make sure indoor dining capacity is not exceeding 50%.
Restrictions without enforcement are just words on paper. Or pixels on a screen.