Whitmer Flu

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday urged Michigan residents to get the flu vaccine to ease the load on the health system if there is a surge of coronavirus cases during the fall and winter influenza season, announcing the state wants at least 1 million more people vaccinated.

She received a flu shot during a news conference to "show how easy it is."

More than 3.2 million of Michigan's 10 million residents were vaccinated against the flu last season. The state's goal is to increase that number by a third, to 4.3 million. It announced an advertising campaign that will begin next week, and hospitals and community health centers said they will boost their own efforts to encourage flu vaccinations.

"When we all get our flu vaccine, we can help keep thousands of patients out of the hospital and prevent overcrowding," Whitmer said.

Influenza, a contagious respiratory illness, can cause mild to severe illness — including hospitalization or death. Older adults, young children and people with chronic health conditions are at high risk of serious complications.

"The flu vaccine prevents anywhere from 40 to 60% of cases of the flu every year," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive. People who get the flu despite having been immunized tend to face less severe symptoms, she said.

The state health department on Tuesday reported 20 additional COVID-19 deaths, including six that occurred days or weeks earlier, bringing the total number of confirmed or probable deaths to nearly 6,700.

The seven-day average of new cases statewide was 705 as of Monday and had stayed mostly constant over the previous two weeks, ranking lower than all but 12 other states on a per-capita basis.

Khaldun said the Detroit region had the highest daily case rate per million residents (69) as of last Friday, followed by the Upper Peninsula and Saginaw regions (57), then the Kalamazoo (53), Grand Rapids (40) and Traverse City (32) regions. The Jackson and Lansing regions had the lowest rates (25).

Whitmer, a Democrat, did not make any announcements on reopening gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and other businesses that remain closed under her order except in much of northern Michigan. She has said she will talk more about the issue this week amid pressure from industry groups that say Michigan is among a handful of states that have not let those types of operations reopen statewide with capacity restrictions.

The governor reiterated that Michigan is "faring a lot better than a lot of other states are right now" because "we took aggressive action early on to fight this virus." She said she will not be "bullied" to let the businesses open after five-plus months of closure.

"It is something that we are continuing to scrutinize and determine if it's safe to move forward," Whitmer said.

Local health departments last week identified 70 outbreaks, which are defined as two or more non-household cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure. None appeared to be associated with gyms, theaters or bowling alleys in northern counties. The state's website said the list was not complete due to the underreporting of outbreaks and the difficulty of doing effective contact tracing.

Whitmer said some gyms outside northern Michigan "are flouting the law and have seen outbreaks, and they've closed within days of when they open."

Of 292 new or previously identified outbreaks or clusters of cases, 92 were in nursing homes or other long-term care settings. Thirty-five were tied to social gatherings, 25 to offices, and 22 each to manufacturing/construction and agriculture. Three were associated with personal care services, which can include hair salons, spas, gyms or similar businesses.

Tori Sachs, executive director of the conservative political group Michigan Rising Action, said Whitmer allowed Detroit casinos to open in early August "and can't explain why small and family-run businesses aren't able to also be given a fair shot at reopening safely."

(8) comments

edwards1

Perhaps the worst Governor Mi has ever had. She forgot a long time ago that we don't work for her, she works for us.

Lanivan

Actually, Governor Whitmer is a hard-working, compassionate, smart, and professional governor, who, along with a 29-member team of medical, business, and educational MI experts, has led this state through being in the top 5 states with confirmed Covid cases in the early days of the pandemic, to being held up as a national beacon of competence and organization as Michigan ranks in the top 3 states that has pushed the spread back and the rate of deaths has fallen dramatically. This has been very difficult, and has required a superior ability to manage both state functions and a global pandemic that hit Michigan hard. I thank God for her service to my state.

JimmyP

This is a bad recommendation. Prevailing research suggests flu vaccines actually RAISE THE RISK OF COVID INFECTION. A January 2020 US Pentagon Study (Wolff 2020) found that the flu shot increased risks from coronavirus by 36% via “vaccine derived virus interference”. Other studies have shown an increased risk of viral respiratory infections, including coronavirus, following vaccination for influenza; 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory disease including coronavirus in children. A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections. A 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times. Finally, a 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer from pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Lanivan

Your comment is dangerously false. There is no evidence that flu vaccines raises the risk of Covid-19 infection. "A claim being pushed on social media and by an organization skeptical of vaccines is using a military study to falsely suggest that the flu vaccine increases someone’s risk of contracting COVID-19. The study does not say that, and the Military Health System advises people to get the flu shot. Experts say there has been no study connecting the flu shot with an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/no-evidence-that-flu-shot-increases-risk-of-covid-19/ Apparently you are an anti-vaxxer intent on spreading false information to support your roundly debunked cause, even when it could result in serious illness or death.

edwards1

There is also no conclusive proof that a flu vaccine prevents contracting the flu. There are many strains.

Lanivan

No one in the medical field would offer "conclusive" proof that a flu vaccine will prevent everyone from contracting all flu viruses, because there is no evidence to support your claim. There are multitudes of flu viruses and multitudes of people of all ages and with all types of health issues that complicate making a blanket statement like that. There is, however, lots of evidence that the flu vaccine protects the majority of people from many prominent flu viruses, or prevents them from getting so sick they end up in ICU wards or dying. A recent study of 2012 showed an effective rate of 67%. That's pretty good to me. Just as people can still be killed while wearing seat belts in an accident, the seat belts save lives the majority of the time.

JimmyP

I respectfully disagree, I am neither of those things, just someone who feels that all information should be reviewed, benefits and risks assessed and a decision made by each individual.

Regarding the flu shot, it's a double edged sword. With phenomena know as "original antigenic sin" and "viral interference", a particular years shot can diminish an immune response to variant flu strains as well as non-influenza illness. Additionally, each shot contains mercury, which, when injected, poses a much different response in the body then say if you were to ingest mercury from eating fish. It skips the normal filtration mechanisms your body depends on to eliminate toxins in the body (liver, kidneys) and can cause an auto-immune response. It also diminishes your levels of glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body, which directly affects immune function. In some (rare) cases, mercury can even cross the blood-brain barrier and cause neurological disorders. This is all well documented in vaccine research and in their package inserts.

Either way, this should be an individual choice. Not a blanket mandate.

Lanivan

Yes, a very small amount of thimerosal, which contains an even tinier amount of mercury, is used in some multi-dose vials of the vaccine to prevent contamination. The amount is very, very small, and I am quite sure that if there was evidence that the horror story you indulge in was widespread, the use would be entirely eliminated. The problem is that one can die from a shot that is contaminated with bacteria - there is plenty of evidence to support this. There is no national mandate, nor has Governor Whitmer mandated through the state of Michigan, flu vaccines. No state or federal entity is forcing you or me to get a flu shot, it is entirely an individual choice.

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