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Epidemiologist says there is “still time” to stop holiday coronavirus spike

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Experts across the state and country are asking people not to travel to meet with family over the holidays - warning it could lead to an even larger spike in coronavirus cases.

Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun noted at a press conference on Thursday that the state had the fourth highest hospitalizations in the country.

Ben Thorp talked with Epidemiologist, Dr. Emily Martin about the good news, bad news, and trajectory for coronavirus In Michigan

Ben: What is the good news is there any good news we have to hang onto right now?

Dr. Martin: Well I think the vaccine news that’s coming out is good news. We still have a lot to learn, we still have a lot more data I want to see before these get distributed however these are the best results we could hope for at this point in the process of the vaccine.

I’m feeling confident about that and it’s making me feel more optimistic and it’s making it easier to think about how much I’ll miss out on next week with THanksgiving knowing the situation for next week’s Thanksgiving looks a lot sunnier.

Ben: Talk to me a little bit about the bad news. And obviously, we heard yesterday from Dr. Khaldun that Michigan has the fourth-highest hospitalizations in the country, what are the other trends right now?

Dr. Martin: It’s going really fast. A lot of hospitalizations, a lot of positives, the case rate is rising really fast. We’re seeing a lot of outbreaks related to these gatherings.

I know anecdotally we have a lot of hospitalizations that are related to a gathering where people might have been infected and not know it. We definitely know where this rise is coming from it’s coming from gatherings. That’s why we’re seeing really strong advice out of the CDC and out of the state to try and keep things as small as possible.

Ben: Is there something on your radar we should be paying attention to as well?

Dr. Martin: There’s just really, really steep rises everywhere and particularly in the midwest. As epidemiologists, we look at thanksgiving and think it’s a foregone conclusion - that we’ll see a lot of spikes - because that’s what we’ve seen in other countries. At the same time, the result is not determined yet. There’s still time to change the future. I don’t want to forget. The decisions we make now still have an ability to impact where we are in December.