Michigan hospitals on Monday reported treating about 3,900 adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases, which surpassed a previous peak from Dec. 1 and was close to the state’s record high from last April of roughly 4,000. The seven-day average of daily new cases was 7,359 as of Saturday, up from 4,661 two weeks prior, according to Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of daily deaths, 43, more than doubled from 20 in the same period.
Earlier Monday, Whitmer again said Michigan’s third surge is different because of vaccines and, unlike a year ago, it is known that masks are effective and the state has adequate testing and personal protective equipment. She has urged — but not required — a two-week suspension of in-person high school instruction, youth sports and indoor dining.
“We each have enough information to do our part,” she said after touring a vaccination clinic at Eastern Michigan University. “That’s what we’re calling on people to do — to do your part.”
Washington is another state that has seen a rise in cases. “We have knocked down this virus already three times, but we have to knock it down a fourth time,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday, as reported by CNN.
Minnesota, California and Maine are other states that have seen increasing cases, according to Johns Hopkins maps.
Even though half of U.S. adults are still completely unvaccinated, dwindling demand for coronavirus shots was reported by some hospitals in Alabama and Missouri.
In Alabama, only 37% of adults have received even one vaccine dose. Health care officials in Missouri are worried that not enough people are seeking shots. A large federally operated vaccination site in downtown St. Louis is administering less than half its capacity of 3,000 shots per day.
On Thursday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla predicted people who have received the company’s COVID-19 vaccine will “likely” need a third booster shot within a year to maintain protection against the virus. “It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” he told CNBC.
The pharmaceutical chief said it’s also possible that people will need to get inoculated every year against the coronavirus. Pfizer had said as early as February that it was testing booster shots in case it was determined they would be needed.
Moderna, the competitor whose vaccine uses a similar so-called messenger RNA platform as Pfizer’s, has also said it is testing booster shots.
Nonetheless, the U.S. has opened more distance between itself and much of the rest of the world, on Thursday nearing the 200 millionth vaccine administered in a race to protect the population against COVID-19. But the picture is still relentlessly grim in parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia as variants of the virus fuel an increase in new cases and the worldwide death toll closes in on 3 million.
France on Thursday passed 100,000 virus deaths, becoming only the eighth country to do so.
India’s two largest cities, New Delhi and Mumbai, imposed business shutdowns and stringent restrictions on movement as new infections shot past 200,000. Some hotels and banquet halls were ordered to convert their space into wards for treating virus patients, and the surge forced India — a major vaccine producer — to delay exports of doses to other countries.
Japan also saw a rapid resurgence of infections just three months before it is scheduled to host the Olympics. The country’s western metropolis of Osaka reported more than 1,200 new infections Thursday, its highest since the pandemic began. A top ruling party official suggested the possibility of canceling the games if the infections make them impossible.
More than one-third of the world’s deaths have occurred in three countries — the United States, Mexico and Brazil, where a total of more than 1.1 million have perished. The virus is claiming about 12,000 lives each day.
The recent decision to suspend the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to preliminary reports of rare blood clots left South Africa without any shots in its battle against an aggressive coronavirus variant. South Africa has more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including at least 53,000 deaths, representing more than 30% of all the confirmed cases in Africa’s 54 countries.
Meanwhile, Germany’s health ministry announced that the country administered a national record of more than 738,000 vaccine shots Wednesday, though authorities also warned that hospitals were seeing a dramatic rise in coronavirus patients.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.