LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer painted a distressing picture Thursday as she spoke about the state’s COVID-19 situation, saying we’ve reached the stage of the pandemic that experts have been dreading.
“We are in the worst part of this pandemic to date,” Whitmer said. “This is the moment that medical experts have been warning us about, and dreading since the beginning of this pandemic.”
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COVID-19 numbers are skyrocketing across the state, with a single-day record 6,940 new cases announced Thursday, along with 45 additional deaths. Overall, the state has reported 236,225 COVID-19 cases and 7,811 deaths.
The leaders of Michigan hospital systems talked about the increase in hospitalizations Thursday morning, imploring residents to follow the simple COVID-19 precautions of wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently and avoiding gatherings.
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Whitmer said even though people are fed up with the pandemic, it’s not over.
“Sadly, COVID-19 is not done with us yet,” Whitmer said. “It doesn’t care if we are tired of it, or if we are angry or weary. This enemy is relentless.”
Even when Michigan flattened the original COVID-19 curve in May and June, experts warned there would be a second wave of cases in the fall. Whitmer pulled up a chart that shows the state’s new cases per million population, and since October, the increase is staggering.
“Now, the second wave of COVID-19 is hitting us, and it’s hitting us hard,” Whitmer said. “The curve that we had flattened, right now this curve is a straight line, and it is straight up.”
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She said hospitals are nearing capacity and burning through the state’s stockpile of personal protective equipment because they’re overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
“Unless we get our act together right now, we could be hitting our daily peak of deaths in Michigan, come Christmas,” Whitmer said. “Our country is averaging over 1,000 deaths every day (from COVID-19). I just want that to sink in for a second. Try to imagine 10 737 airplanes crashing to the ground every single day. That’s what we’re facing: A 9/11 every three days.”