And there are several reasons behind the crisis.
“One, we believe the overall infection rate in Michigan was lower during the pandemic to date,” Beaumont Health CEO John Fox said on CNN Saturday. “Secondly, Michigan opened up recently … with various orders being relieved.”
“Unfortunately I think people have dropped their infection control issues, they’re not wearing their masks as much as they should, social distancing, hand hygiene,” Fox added.
And with a big part of the older population vaccinated against the virus, the variant has hit younger groups hard.
“It really is presenting in all of our ERs and frankly in our inpatient units,” Fox said. “We’re treating younger patients than we ever saw before,” Fox said.
Emergency physician and CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen says she’s worried about what this could mean for Michigan and the US.
Nearly a quarter of all Americans fully vaccinated
In the race to vaccinate as many Americans as possible, another important milestone: the US is nearing a quarter of Americans fully vaccinated.
“I am glad that the pause is happening because it really illustrates that our system is working, that our federal health officials are prioritizing — more than anything else — safety,” Wen told CNN on Saturday. “If they’re willing to hit pause on something that’s less than one in a million, we should be really reassured about their commitment to safety.”
The other two Covid-19 vaccines that have also gotten the green light in the US — Pfizer and Moderna — are not implicated in the pause. And in the coming weeks, it will be key to continue the important messaging about their safety, Wen said, and why Covid-19 vaccinations remain critical.
“We’re doing this because we have a pandemic that’s claimed more than 500,000 lives here in the US,” Wen added.
During a White House Covid-19 briefing on Friday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said officials recognize the importance of moving quickly on the paused J&J vaccine.
“What I would say to the American people is that what we found is really extremely rare cases through our vaccine safety monitoring system. And that we are transparently — this meeting on Friday will be public, people can dial in — we are transparently conveying that science,” Walensky said.
Officials have also reached out to thousands of providers to inform them about what types of cases they should be looking for, she said.
“And we want to convey to the American public: We have two vaccines that are readily available — the Pfizer and the Moderna — and people should continue to roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated,” Walensky added.
CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Jen Christensen, Maggie Fox, Virginia Langmaid and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.