New cases of Covid-19 continue to soar in Michigan, with the state reporting 8,015 today, along with 30 deaths.
Despite a quickening pace of vaccination, the state now leads the country in new Covid infections. To date, there have been 715,478 cases in Michigan, and 16,327 deaths.
Most experts attribute these numbers to new variants of the disease, although most testing doesn't determine which variety of the coronavirus individuals have. The so-called U.K. variant was found in Washtenaw County early this year. Since then, doctors have found others from Brazil, South Africa and two from California.
Hotspots are mostly in the southern Lower Peninsula, with the worst counties by proportion of population Macomb, Saginaw, Kent, Ottawa, Cass and Branch. In the Upper Peninsula, Dickinson County has the highest number of cases per million population, the measure the state uses to compare counties of differing populations.
Nick Maness, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, told The Detroit News last week:
"These variants are concerning because there is data that they may be able to escape immunity and infect people that were either previously infected or vaccinated," Maness said. "However, all the data suggest that the available vaccines are protective against severe diseases associated with infection with these variants. It is still unknown if vaccinated people that become infected with these variants can then spread the virus to others.
"There simply isn’t enough data to answer this yet," he said.