The state of Michigan was locked up for months, and then in March it started open amid a spike in new coronavirus cases.
The Michigan experience, and other outbreaks across the country involving new foreign strains, once again raise questions and debate about whether we should close our borders to travelers from multiple states, impose new restrictions in some areas, or both. But more on those questions in a moment.
Unfortunately, when you suddenly return valuable freedoms to people, they will likely take fewer precautions than if you gradually reopen them. In addition, the Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care: White House rejects calls to send more doses of vaccine to certain states | The White House warned states to expect low weekly J&J vaccine shipments Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team briefing CDC data show an increase in the Brazilian variant detected in the US MORE said this week that the UK’s COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 is now a main strains in the US – and a British variant in wide circulation in Michigan.
This is worrying because it is more contagious and so much more evil than the original COVID-19 strain. It should therefore come as no surprise that we looked at younger patients in hospitals in Michigan, but not as many as older patients, many of whom were likely to be protected by the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines seem to be too protect both against variant B.1.1.7.
The problem is just that 35 percent Michigan adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In Great Britain, where the B.1.1.7 variant originally appeared, change 50 percent people had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before the UK started stopping COVID-19 after the latest spike.
Walensky suggested This week that stronger mitigation strategies were brought back in Michigan, including ensuring wearing masks, pausing eating indoors, and stricter rules around youth sports. But it’s unclear how well these measures will work. Governor of Michigan Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerOvernight Health Care: White House rejects calls to send more doses of vaccine to certain states | The White House warned states to expect low weekly J&J vaccine shipments The White House has rejected calls to send more doses of the vaccine to certain states Bipartisan lawmakers are urging Biden to send more vaccines to Michigan amid a surge MORE (D), on the other hand, supports enhanced vaccination, mandatory testing of student athletes and temporarily suspending face-to-face classes. “We recognize the positive impact of mitigation strategies on the spread of infection,” said Dr. Chris Carpenter, infectious disease specialist and chair of Internal Medicine at William Beaumont University’s Oakland School of Medicine, told me. “But there are negative social and psychological consequences too.”
I think Governor Whitmer has a better strategy at least in terms of his focus on rapid vaccinations and trying to get on with school sports. In fact, I believe we should target vaccine distribution now to the five states that are experiencing a boom – Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. A million doses of vaccine in Michigan will do more to stem the current tide than to shut down restaurants or football games.
Genetic surveillance for emerging variants is also important, and should be improved. We have testing capacity – we just need to fund and use it.
At the same time, we should consider closing the borders completely to travelers from Brazil and limiting travel from Canada to essential workers, at least
Canada US tourists have been doing during the pandemic. The now dreaded Brazilian P1 variant circulating in Canada, it spreads eastward from British Columbia. Data on whether the vaccine effectively fights the P1 strain are still emerging.
Meanwhile, Dr. Carpenter said that current travel across the US-Canada border was sufficient to spread the P1 variant, which contains the well-known E484K mutation (which the South African strain also has), and could cause reinfection and / or make current vaccines less effective.
February and March saw a marked drop in the number of cases across the country. It is clear that the current increase in these five states correlates directly with the spread of the emerging variants. We need to act like Britain and Israel and continue high-level vaccinations to deal with it. The best weapon to add is a complete temporary travel ban to and from the areas of greatest concern where this variant inflicts the most damage.
Within a 24 hour period this weekend, Brazil experienced more than 90,000 new cases and nearly 4,000 deaths. Whereas only 12 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is reason enough to tighten the current travel restrictions to a total ban on travel from Brazil.
In Canada, on the other hand, files number much lower, but there is some reason to be concerned with more than 7,000 new cases over the 24-hour period this weekend and only 16 percent of the population having received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, only half of what we have. accomplished so far in the US And there’s an increasing number of cases Variant P1 in Michigan.
It is too late to stop traveling from the UK, as the B.1.1.7 variant has spread and took root here. But it is not too late to learn the lesson they have taught us: Control the spread of dangerous variants with travel restrictions, bans and vaccinations, not by closing restaurants or by further refusing the sporting activities our youth need. With all our worries about the southern border, it turns out that we also need to pay attention to our other borders.
Marc Siegel, MD, is professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health. He is Fox News medical correspondent and author of the new book, “COVID; the Politics of Fear and the Power of Science.”