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Governor Whitmer hosts first COVID briefing since June

The specter of omicron, already hitting hard across the Northeast and down the Atlantic seaboard to Florida, led senior Michigan officials to hold a press briefing Tuesday morning. Included was Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who spoke on the virus in an official capacity for the first time since June. Recently appointed Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel was also on hand, along with urban pastors and hospital administrators.

Hertel talked about the growing number of cases in younger Americans and how age is not a guarantor of safety if infected.

None of us can predict whether we will get mild or severe symptoms, or if we’ll find ourselves facing long COVID symptoms. Even otherwise healthy and young people can get sick or end up in care.

The group stressed the need for vaccinations and booster shots for those eligible. Hertel says since the start of the year those who have been immunized represent about one-seventh of the overall death toll from COVID-19.

From 1/15 to 12/3 of this year people who were vaccinated, or not fully vaccinated represented 85.1% of COVID-19 cases, 88.1% of hospitalizations, and 85.5% of deaths.

Michigan experienced significant waves of hospitalizations and deaths in January and April where a small percentage of residents met the definition of fully vaccinated. In recent months, the disparity has been less.

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