Ottawa County's total lab-confirmed case count rose above 10,000 on Monday.
The county health department reported the number of cases since the pandemic began is now 10,056, with 4,490 recovered and 104 deaths. That's 313 more cases and three new deaths related to COVID-19 since the Ottawa County Department of Public Health's report on Sunday.
However, the county health department's COVID-19 dashboard report shows just 168 new cases Monday, down from 235 on Sunday, and an average of about 400 for each of the previous three days.
Ottawa County's latest deaths are: a man in his 70s, two men in their 80s, two women in their 80s, and a woman in her 90s. All had underlying health conditions, according to the county health department.
Muskegon County's confirmed case count rose by 473 on Monday to a total of 5,259, with 111 deaths related to COVID-19, according to the state health department.
Michigan's case count rose by 12,763 on Monday, which also includes data from Sunday. Therefore, the state's daily average for the two-day period is 6,381.5, down slightly from Saturday's 7,072 new cases and the record 8,516 reported Friday.
The state's total confirmed case count is now 264,576.
The state health department said Michigan had another 55 deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday and Monday, pushing the death toll to 8,049.
Community COVID-19 testing site Tuesday
The next COVID-19 testing event in the Grand Haven area is 3-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Ottawa County Road Commission, 14110 Lakeshore Ave., Grand Haven Township.
If arriving between 3 and 4 p.m., you should enter off Rosy Mound Drive via U.S. 31 to avoid school traffic.
You are asked to wear a face covering or mask.
Testing results are typically available in 3-6 days.
This event will also be offering a no-cost flu vaccine for uninsured adults (age 19 and older).
Whitmer says she has authority for stay-home order
LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she has the authority to issue a second stay-at-home order to curb the spiking coronavirus if necessary and called a comment by an adviser to President Donald Trump urging people to "rise up" against Michigan's latest restrictions "incredibly reckless."
The Democratic governor spoke with Capitol reporters a day after announcing limits amid a surge of COVID-19 cases that has led to increased hospitalizations and deaths. Other Midwest states are facing similar second waves as the weather cools, and she has urged the public to "double down" with precautions to avoid a shelter-in-place order like what was instituted in the spring.
Whitmer responded to a tweet sent Sunday night by Scott Atlas, a science adviser to Trump, who urged people to "rise up" after the governor's announcement. Trump himself has urged supporters to push Whitmer to reopen the state following virus restrictions, though many rules had been lifted previously. And 14 men have been charged in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap the governor.
"It's just incredibly reckless considering everything that has happened, everything that is going on," Whitmer said. "We really all need to be focused on the public health crisis that is ravaging our country and that poses a very real threat to every one of us."
Atlas later tweeted that he "NEVER" would endorse or incite violence.
Under the restrictions that start Wednesday, Michigan high schools and colleges must halt in-person classes, restaurants must stop indoor dining and entertainment businesses such as casinos, movie theaters and bowling alleys must close for three weeks. Gathering sizes also will be tightened.
Whitmer called it a "targeted approach" informed by epidemiologists and public health experts. She renewed her call for the Republican-led Legislature to codify a mask requirement in law in part to send a unified message to the public, calling it "the best weapon we have against our common enemy." The proposed legislation is opposed by GOP legislative leaders.
She noted that lawmakers enacted laws keeping intact unemployment benefits and addressing other matters after the state Supreme Court's October ruling striking down a law she repeatedly used to respond to the pandemic, but said her administration can continue largely combatting the pandemic unilaterally under a health law.
"This is precisely the power that one of the justices pointed to in terms of actions we can and should be taking throughout this pandemic," the governor said.
Michigan's seven-day average of daily new cases has more than doubled from 3,113 to 6,684 over two weeks. It is up nearly five-fold from 30 days ago. Daily deaths also have surged, from 25 to 62, according to The COVID Tracking Project. The number of patients currently hospitalized, about 3,000, has risen six-fold in under two months.
Asked if the state can do anything to assist closed businesses and their soon-to-be laid-off employees, Whitmer again urged Trump and Congress to enact a relief law. She said she and the governors in a loose "compact" of other Midwest states — Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kentucky — will have a joint media event Tuesday.
Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan and a Republican former lieutenant governor, also called on Congress and the president to act.
"I think we have to expect that this will mean catastrophic failure for many of them (small businesses)," he said of the state order. "They're just in no condition to weather these types of conditions, given the fact that some of them were required to be closed for five or six months earlier this year."
In Detroit, an early virus hot spot where infection rates are lower than in the suburbs, Mayor Mike Duggan said businesses "are being shut down because of irresponsible behavior in the surrounding communities."
Whitmer said GOP legislators have been included in calls in which health experts model cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Without aggressive steps now, she warned, Michigan could see 20,000 more deaths by February. The state has reported nearly 8,400 confirmed or probable deaths tied to COVID-19 and about 275,000 cases.
"The restrictions are absolutely necessary right now. The pandemic is out of control. Nurses are at their breaking point, so any help the public can give us would be great," said Jamie Brown, a critical care nurse from Kalamazoo and president of the Michigan Nurses Association.
2nd virus vaccine shows striking success in US tests
(AP) — A second experimental COVID-19 vaccine — this one from Moderna Inc. — yielded extraordinarily strong early results Monday, another badly needed dose of hope as the pandemic enters a terrible new phase.
Moderna said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from an ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own vaccine looked 90% effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.
The results are "truly striking," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-diseases expert. "The vaccines that we're talking about, and vaccines to come, are really the light at the end of the tunnel."
A vaccine can't come fast enough, as virus cases topped 11 million in the U.S. over the weekend — 1 million of them recorded in just the past week — and governors and mayors are ratcheting up restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving. The outbreak has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide, over 246,000 of them in the U.S.
Stocks rallied on Wall Street and elsewhere around the world on rising hopes that the global economy could start returning to normal in the coming months. Moderna was up 7.5% in the morning, while companies that have benefited from the stay-at-home economy were down, including Zoom, Peloton and Netflix.
Both vaccines require two shots, given several weeks apart. U.S. officials said they hope to have about 20 million Moderna doses and another 20 million of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to use in late December.
Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna's president, welcomed the "really important milestone" but said having similar results from two different companies is what's most reassuring.
"That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives," Hoge told The Associated Press. He added: "It won't be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It's going to require many vaccines" to meet the global demand.
If the Food and Drug Administration allows emergency use of Moderna's or Pfizer's candidate, there will be limited, rationed supplies before the end of the year.
Exactly who is first in line has yet to be decided. But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the hope is that enough doses are available by the end of January to vaccinate adults over 65, who are at the highest risk from the coronavirus, and health care workers. Fauci said it may take until spring or summer before anyone who is not high risk and wants a shot can get one.
The National Institutes of Health helped create the vaccine Moderna is manufacturing, and NIH's director, Dr. Francis Collins, said the exciting news from two companies "gives us a lot of confidence that we're on the path towards having effective vaccines."
But "we're also at this really dark time," he warned, saying people can't let down their guard during the months it will take for doses of any vaccines cleared by the FDA to start reaching a large share of the population.
Moderna's vaccine is being studied in 30,000 volunteers who received either the real thing or a dummy shot. On Sunday, an independent monitoring board examined 95 infections that were recorded after volunteers' second shot. Only five of the illnesses were in people given the vaccine.
Earlier this year, Fauci said he would be happy with a COVID-19 vaccine that was 60% effective.
The study is continuing, and Moderna acknowledged the protection rate might change as more COVID-19 infections are detected. Also, it's too soon to know how long protection lasts. Both cautions apply to Pfizer's vaccine as well.
But Moderna's independent monitors reported some additional, promising tidbits: All 11 severe COVID-19 cases were among placebo recipients, and there were no significant safety concerns. The main side effects were fatigue, muscle aches and injection-site pain after the second dose.
Scientists not involved with the testing were encouraged but cautioned that the FDA still must scrutinize the safety data and decide whether to allow vaccinations outside of a research study.
"We're not to the finish line yet," said Dr. James Cutrell, an infectious-disease expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "If there's an impression or perception that there's just a rubber stamp, or due diligence wasn't done to look at the data, that could weaken public confidence."
States already are gearing up for what is expected to be the biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. First the shots have to arrive where they're needed, and Pfizer's must be kept at ultra-cold temperatures — around minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderna's vaccine also starts off frozen, but the company said Monday it can be thawed and kept in a regular refrigerator for 30 days, easing that concern.
Beyond the U.S., other governments and the World Health Organization, which aims to buy doses for poor countries, will have to separately decide if and when vaccines should be rolled out broadly.
"There are many, many questions still remaining," including how long protection lasts and if the first vaccines to emerge work as well in older people as in the young, said WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan. "We also hope the clinical trials will continue to collect data, because it's really going to be important for us to know in the long term."
The vaccine from Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna is among 11 candidates in late-stage testing around the world, four of them in huge studies in the United States. Collins stressed that more U.S. volunteers are needed for those studies.
Elsewhere around the world, China and Russia have been offering different experimental vaccines to people before completing final-stage testing.
Both Moderna's shots and the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate are so-called mRNA vaccines, a brand-new technology. They aren't made with the coronavirus itself, meaning there's no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tweeted that he was thrilled at Moderna's news, saying, "Our companies share a common goal — defeating this dreaded disease."