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Infectious disease doc on surging COVID-19 cases in Michigan: You have to shut some things down

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Beaumont’s director of infectious disease research is weighing in on what’s driving the COVID-19 surge in Michigan. He’s calling for a clamp-down on schools and restaurants as a way to control variants.

(WXYZ) — Beaumont’s director of infectious disease research is weighing in on what’s driving the COVID-19 surge in Michigan. He’s calling for a clamp-down on schools and restaurants as a way to control variants.

According to the state, there are 3,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan, and the variants spreading throughout the state are playing a big role.

“Some of them don’t do anything, but some of them may make it more infectious, some of them may make it more dangerous, more deadly. Some of them might unfortunately do things like affect the ability of the vaccine to protect us,” Dr. Matthew Sims said.

Sims said he’s seeing the COVID-19 surge firsthand as the director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Royal Oak; 40% of the patients at his hospital have the B.1.1.7 variant.

He compares the infection spreading like the virus going through an open door.

“What happens is, when you open the state, well you’re opening the door wider. Right? So you’re potentially letting more virus pass through,” he said. “Now you take a variant that’s more contagious and that’s like then running through the door.”

The B.1.351 along with the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variants have been identified in our state, but the B.1.1.7 strain is spreading throughout.

There have been nearly 2,000 cases identified by the state health department, but that number is likely much higher. It takes a state lab to determine the strain.

“If you want to go the other way, you want to slow it down, you have to close the door … restaurants, sporting events, in-person school. I know the governor doesn’t want to do that and I know Dr. Khaldun doesn’t want to do that. But the thing is our numbers are going up, they’re not going down,” he said.

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