By ED WHITE
With the skyrocketing cases in the Upper Midwest, some Michigan schools are leaving students at home before Thanksgiving, and the military is sending medical teams to Minnesota to help hospital staff overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
The deteriorating prospects in the Midwest are due to the fact that booster shots are becoming available to everyone in an increasing number of locations. Massachusetts and Utah were the latest to say anyone 18 and older can roll up their booster sleeve, and an advisory committee from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets Friday to discuss booster expansion.
Cold weather states are dominated by a new wave of cases in the past seven days, including New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wisconsin, according to federal data. But there were also problems in the Southwest: more than 90% of hospital beds were occupied in Arizona.
In Detroit, where only 35% of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated, the school district said it will move to online training on Fridays in December due to rising COVID-19 cases, building cleanups, and timeouts for “mental health relief.” … “One high school went online until November 29th.
In another high school, some students and teachers left school for a short while, stating that the classrooms were still too large for the pandemic and the school needed to be cleaned up.
Detroit health worker Denise Fair Razo said the city’s new cases have skyrocketed to 3,858 over the past 14 days, up from 2,322 in the previous two weeks.
“We’re in Michigan, so we don’t spend time outdoors in flip flops and T-shirts,” Razo Fair said Thursday. “We’re indoors and, to be honest, we get too relaxed. We don’t wear masks anymore. We no longer wash our hands as often as we should. But we know these precautions. “
Fair Razo is urging people to get tested for COVID-19 before their Thanksgiving meeting, even if they are vaccinated. She “absolutely” predicts a jump after the holiday.
Elsewhere in Michigan, some schools are taking Thanksgiving leave next week instead of three days.
“Some serious stressors have been noticed and recognized this school year,” Superintendent Greg Helmer told parents, citing a lack of staff and a lack of students in Ravenna.
In Minnesota, the US Department of Defense will send two 22-person medical teams next week to Hennepin County Medical Center and St. Cloud Hospital to provide immediate care to patients and to help tired medical workers.
“I need Minnesotans to realize, as we said, this is a dangerous time,” Gov. Tim Waltz said, pushing for vaccinations.
New Hampshire has registered 327 people with COVID-19 in hospitals, higher than the previous pandemic high since December 31. Neighboring Maine also hit a high hospital admission rate for COVID-19 this week.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is calling lawmakers in a special meeting next week to pass legislation giving local governments the power to pass temporary mandates to use masks. He opposes ordering masks statewide, even as the number of new daily cases in Vermont is approaching numbers not seen since the early days of the pandemic.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation barring businesses from ordering workers to vaccinate unless they also allow them to refuse vaccinations for a variety of reasons, including routine testing. Schools and local governments are barred from imposing vaccination requirements, and parents can sue schools over masks.
Recently, Florida has one of the lowest rates of new cases in the country. DeSantis has become one of the most prominent Republicans in the country for his opposition to bans and other virus-related regulations.
The U.S. currently has an average of about 87,000 new coronavirus cases per day, up from 72,000 two weeks ago, and hospital admissions are starting to rise again after falling steadily after the peak of the summer delta spike. The country still dies on average over 1,100 per day, and the number of Americans dying from COVID-19 is now 768,000.
About 59% of the US population is fully vaccinated, or about 195 million Americans. Government and health officials are calling for more people to be vaccinated, especially the 60 million people who have not yet received their first dose.