Lansing, Mich. — The State of Michigan has just fewer than 10 million people and has had just more than 1 million Covid-19 cases.
Simple math will show more than 10 percent of the state has now been infected with the virus. When asked about that grim milestone, Michigan’s public health leaders had various responses.
“How disappointing it is that so many people have minimized this, saying it’s nothing more than the flu,” said Ingham county health officer Linda Vail on her first thought after seeing the 1-million case threshold crossed.
CDC numbers show more than 679 thousand people have died of Covid in the US since March of 2020, more than double the number of deaths from the flu since 2010.
“There is no comparison to the flu,” Vail said.
Vail said on top of seeing what she said was preventable sickness and deaths, one of the hardest parts is the mistrust that’s been created.
“The amount of people who accuse us about literally just lying about these numbers, saying I just want to get my numbers up,” Vail said. “Get my numbers up to what end? To what end? So I can sit here and watch more people get sick? So I can watch more people die? So I can watch my staff work hours and hours and hours?”
Doctor Joneigh Khaldun has been governor Whitmer’s expert throughout the pandemic.
She’s saddened by what’s happened but sees light at the end of the tunnel
“It’s certainly something that’s sobering,” Khaldun said. “But at the same time, I’m optimistic, because we have safe and effective vaccines.”
That’s one main reason officials say there’s hope.
More than 67 percent of the state ages 16 and up are currently vaccinated.
Combine that with 5-11-year-olds soon being able to get the shot, and new available treatments, the next 19 months should be very different from the last.
“I certainly do not have a crystal ball but I think the pandemic will end, we will stop seeing our hospitals overwhelmed,” Khaldun said. “We have vaccines, vaccines that work. We know how to beat this virus.”