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Michigan becomes the newest COVID-19 epicenter

Lansing, Michigan – Michigan has become the newest coronavirus epicenter in the United States, but it’s a mystery why.

“I do not know what is going on here. Michigan is just one of the hardest hit,” Scott Niswonger said.

Dr. Meredith Hill, emergency director at Sparrow Hospital, said the increase has been more drastic than the previous two weeks. “I think there are clearly more communities scattered right now,” she said.

Niswonger, a COVID-19 patient, said his son may have been infected at his daycare. He has been at Lansing̵

7;s Sparrow Hospital since Friday.

“We all went and got tested and everyone came back positive and it has been a downhill spiral since then,” Niswonger said. “It just feels like someone, a 500 pound guy just sitting on my chest and I just couldn’t push him off.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the latest increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide is run by younger Americans. A theory: A possible link to school reopening and after-school sports.

“We are learning that many outbreaks in young people are related to youth sports and leisure activities. According to CDC guidelines, these activities should be limited,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC.

There has also been an increase in the B.1.1.7 variant originating in the UK and now believed to be responsible for a third of all cases in the US

“We know that B.1.1.7 is more transferable, somewhere between 50-100% more transferable. Whether it’s more transferable specifically in different age demographics, we do not yet,” Walensky said.

But there is also good news nationwide. Four million vaccinations were reported Saturday. At least 23% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated, and 40% have received at least one dose according to the CDC.

As of Monday in Michigan, anyone 16 years of age or older can be vaccinated and participate in 27 other states to expand eligibility.

“You get so excited because a vaccine is out, and it’s a little discouraging to see the spread surpassing the vaccine,” Hill said. “We just try to keep each other up and stay as positive as possible.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the attribution of a quote about the increase in COVID cases in Michigan to Scott Niswonger, a COVID-19 patient.

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