Current COVID conditions in Michigan and recommendations
Dr. Anne Chen, M.D., is Chief of Medicine, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. She is also Program Director of Infectious Disease Fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital Detroit and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Dr. Chen received her medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Henry Ford Hospital, followed by an Infectious Disease fellowship at Wayne State University.
Dr. Chen served as the Section Chief of Infectious Disease at Henry Ford West Bloomfield for nine years before becoming the Associate Division Head of Infectious Diseases, Henry Ford Health System. She is a member of many professional societies and recently completed her term as Chair of the Graduate Medical Education Committee at Henry Ford Hospital and a supporter of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating worldwide toll. After peaking in Jan 2021 with over 4000 deaths daily in this country, we were able to effectively fight the pandemic when widespread COVID vaccinations became available in 2021. The vaccines have proven to be highly effective and safe and were instrumental in effectively decreasing COVID transmission and infection. To date, over half the entire population in the United States, over 165 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. The widespread vaccination efforts were able to decrease new cases to an all-time low, triggering the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ease their masking recommendations of vaccinated individuals in May 2021. Unfortunately, the combination of the relaxed mask mandate and the new, more infectious variant COVID strains resulted in a developing surge of increasing new cases in the past four straight weeks throughout Michigan. The predominant COVID strain in Michigan is the new Delta variant, which is much more infectious than previous COVID strains. In addition, recent reports have demonstrated that vaccinated individuals can still infect others with the Delta variant. These findings have prompted the CDC to reverse course and recommend that we resume masking indoors if COVID cases reach a "substantial" level in the community. This week on August 4, Michigan's rates of new COVID cases increased to the "substantial' level, a new threshold for which the CDC now strongly recommends that masks should always be worn by everyone while indoors, including those who have been immunized.
To help protect yourself, friends, and family from the serious risks of COVID infection, the following steps are recommended by the CDC:
- Get yourself and your entire household (12 years and older) vaccinated against COVID
- Always wear masks while indoors if you are with others who do not live with you
- Correctly and consistently wear a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth
- Continue to socially distance >6 feet from others who do not live with you when indoors
- Stay home when you are sick
- Get tested if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19