Why are COVID cases still going up in Michigan despite vaccine availability?

Posted at 12:23 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 18:31:23-05

(WXYZ) — It's been nearly two years since the first case of the coronavirus was detected here in Michigan.

And even though medical experts say we are in a better place now thanks to options like the availability of vaccines, people still have questions about why the infection rate is climbing or why the vaccine is not eradicating the virus. And most importantly asking, when are we going to start living our lives normally?

COVID-19 driving uncertainty to an all-time high.

"We are about 2 years into the pandemic, it seems like we are still where we at, you know we are still getting sick," said one local resident.

The infection rate is climbing as COVID-19 mutates, and people want answers.

"Why are people still getting sick? After all, these breakthrough cases being fully vaccinated, even some people having boosters," said another local resident.

But before we tackle long-term plan, let’s understand why COVID vaccinations are an important step against the virus.

We spoke with Dr. Sandeep Sohal from Beaumont Health and Dr. Steve McGraw from Ascension Health System; they both say getting the booster shot or even just the two doses of the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of severe illness.

"These vaccinations that we have out there still protect patients from getting seriously ill, being admitted to the hospital or worse being in the ICU and being on the ventilator, which once you are, it's hard to get patients off that," said Dr. Sohal.

Dr. McGraw said, "ironically, the people that seem to be the most protected, are the people who had the vaccine and some elements of the disease."

Kimberly Harrington, a mother of four, was infected with COVID just before Christmas. Once her oxygen levels dropped. Kimberly was rushed to Beaumont Hospital.

"I didn’t think it was going to be this bad, to be honest ... there is so much misinformation out there... I'm not vaccinated, I was not a big believer of it, but I'm going to get it, I'm not going to go through this again," said Harrington.

Then comes the important part: medical experts say getting vaccinated or boosted does not mean one should stop following the safety measures.

"Masking, 6 feet distance when you are able to, that will also substantially reduce your risk of getting COVID," said Dr. Sohal.

McGraw said, "because right now whether you are vaccinated or not, this disease is so contagious, your chances of even having a brief encounter with someone that may be an asymptomatic carrier is enough."

As for eradicating the virus, both doctors are looking forward to pharmaceutical companies developing an even more effective vaccine.

"This is a clever virus; it develops ways to outsmart the tools that we have," said Dr. Sohal.

Dr. McGraw adds, "Diseases like this become somewhat less life-threatening and more contagious over time."

Meanwhile, doctors say if you are looking for credible information on COVID-19 vaccines, contacting your physician is a better choice than relying on information you found on social media or unverified websites.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.