There is a new surge of COVID-19 cases being driven by the delta variant. This strain of the virus is much more contagious than the original strain that emerged in March 2020. Michigan has seen a more than 180% increase in cases over two weeks.
“Even if you do get the infection, as a breakthrough case, the likelihood that you’re going to end up in the hospital or in the intensive care unit or … die, is very, very low.” —Dr. Paul Kilgore, Wayne State University
This spike in caseloads has caused many universities — including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University — to require staff, students and faculty to be vaccinated before the start of the school year.
Just over 55% of people 16 years or older are fully vaccinated in Michigan.
Listen: Dr. Paul Kilgore breaks down the latest COVID-19 surge.
Dr. Paul Kilgore is an associate professor and director of research at Wayne State University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Kilgore says there are two things people can do to be protected from the delta variant: Get vaccinated and start wearing a mask again. “When I say get vaccinated, I mean getting the full dose schedule — that means two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, two doses of Moderna, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson,” Kilgore says. “If you are indoors or in a large gathering … those are locations, those are situations where you want to be wearing a mask.”
According to Kilgore, if you get the vaccine, you still risk infection. But he says handling a breakthrough case is easier than handling a case for someone without the vaccine. “Even if you do get the infection, as a breakthrough case, the likelihood that you’re going to end up in the hospital or in the intensive care unit or, God forbid, die, is very, very low,” Kilgore says. “We know the vast majority of people who are now in the hospital with the delta variant infection — these folks have not gotten any vaccine. And that’s the problem.”