COVID Outbreaks in Michigan Schools Rise as Vaccines Open for Children

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The COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan are on the rise again, especially in our schools, as many have stopped testing, impacting the spread among students and staff.

Just a few weeks ago, the state’s latest wave of COVID-19 appeared to be slowing, but daily cases are now around 3,000. However, as more citizens have been vaccinated, this wave hasn’t is not as serious, but it is clearly present in schools.

There are 1.5 million school children and only 34 of them have been hospitalized with COVID-19. However, only 42% between the ages of 12 and 15 have been vaccinated. Add to that the vaccines have only just been released to children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Michigan Chief Medical Director Dr Natasha Bagdasarian said it all led to this startling statement:

“In terms of outbreaks, kindergartens at 12 are the biggest source of outbreaks across the state,” Dr. Bagdasarian said. “(At) the start of school … we saw in our 5-18 year olds, we saw a slight increase in the number of cases just as the schools reopened and it continued to increase.”

104 new school outbreaks were reported this week, in addition to 101 from last week and 76 from the previous week. That’s a grand total of 592 outbreaks of two or more cases in public schools.

Conservative GOP board member Tom McMillan said students were more likely to be killed in car crashes than from the virus. But Dr Bagdasarian said the data shows the opposite.

“National data suggests that COVID-19 is among the top ten causes of death in this pediatric age group,” she said.

Of course, one way to reduce outbreaks in schools is to implement an aggressive testing program in school. Last spring, 80,000 athletes were tested each week, which narrowed the gap between students.

Now, many schools have stopped testing, which opens the door to more outbreaks.

“Schools may just feel overwhelmed and don’t have the time or the energy to report all the results or even administer the tests,” Dr Bagdasarian said.

While some parents and student advocates want Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to impose Covid masks and tests in schools. Whitmer argues that this is a local issue that local school boards must resolve. The GOP legislature agrees with the governor’s non-intervention policy.


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