(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Friday issued a face mask advisory. Everyone over the age of 2 is recommended to wear a face mask at indoor gatherings, regardless of vaccination status, as COVID-19 cases climb in the state.
As we head into Thanksgiving, could Michigan’s mask advisory help curb cases?
I, 100%, support the mask advisory. Michigan’s case numbers have skyrocketed and we recently had the highest seven-day case rate for this year. In fact, we’re leading the nation at 589.3 cases per 100,000 people.
So yes, I strongly suggest people mask up when indoors, regardless of whether they’re vaccinated or not. Let’s not forget that we’re dealing with the delta variant, a highly transmissible variant — plus flu season is here.
We’re also heading into cold weather when people spend more time indoors. And we’ve got the holidays and family gatherings ahead of us. So, I am concerned for my fellow Michiganders and what may lay ahead if we don’t take precautions now.
And whether you like it or not, masks work. Science backs this up. There was a study published Thursday that found COVID-19 infection rates dropped by 53% when people wore masks. And another study involving 200 countries found 46% fewer negative COVID-19 outcomes when masks were mandated. So, in my opinion, they are a very effective tool against the coronavirus.
Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have approved Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 booster shots for all U.S. adults. But back in September, when Pfizer first requested boosters for all, the FDA said there wasn’t enough supporting data. Now, they have changed their mind.
First, there’s growing data that shows our COVID-19 vaccines are waning over time. Researchers analyzed our three vaccines between February and October, and here’s what they found:
- Pfizer’s vaccine effectiveness dropped from 86% to 43%
- Moderna’s dropped from 89% to 58%
- Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot dose dropped from 86% to 13%
Secondly, more vaccinated people are being hospitalized. Now, let me stress that these numbers are nowhere near hospitalization rates for people who are not vaccinated. But we are now seeing more folks over the age of 65 in emergency rooms who received two vaccine doses. However, this is not too surprising since this age group was the first in line for the shots.
The good news is: Booster shots can restore protection rates. The FDA had wanted more data, and that’s what Pfizer provided. Clinical trials showed a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine upped the efficacy rate to 95% against COVID-19 when compared with two doses.
When compared to the unvaccinated group, the efficacy rate rose to 98%. In addition to that, data from Israel found people aged 60 and up that were given a booster shot were less likely to get severely ill.
Now, I got my booster shot several weeks ago because I work in the health care field. So, I am a supporter of booster shots six months after getting the second dose. And I also strongly recommend that everyone do their part, wear masks and follow pandemic precautions.