Grand Rapids, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been six days since coronavirus triggered prevention orders and eventual shutdowns in Michigan and some people still don’t understand why.
The first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed March 10, prompting a state of emergency declaration from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. As the case count grew, so did the governor’s executive orders, ultimately leading to the closure of all K-12 schools, dine-in restaurants, bars, fitness centers and various other businesses.
Social distancing has become the new normal and many employers have advised non-essential employees to work from home.
Health officials know all of these measures won’t eliminate coronavirus. Instead, their goal is to “flatten the curve” — lower the number of cases of coronavirus so when the pandemic peaks, hospitals will still be able to handle the influx of patients.
“If you look at the curves of outbreaks, you know they go big peaks and then come down. What we need to do is to flatten that down. That would have less people infected, that would ultimately have less deaths. You do that by trying to interfere with the natural flow of the outbreak,” explained Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“As a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a state that has no cases or one case. You have to take seriously what you can do now,” he added.
Kent County Health Department Administrative Health Officer Adam London says additional cases of coronavirus in Kent County are inevitable as testing becomes more widely available and people who had mild or no symptoms spread the disease to others.
While President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that Michigan’s governor must work harder and be more proactive, London says Whitmer is taking the right measures.
“I think that the governor and her executive orders have been spot-on and will be helpful in flattening the curve as we have been talking about throughout the federal, state and local levels over the course of the past week. That’s really important that we do flatten that curve,” he told the Grand Rapids City Commission Tuesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the statewide coronavirus case count was up to 65, including five in Kent County, one in Ottawa County and one in Montcalm County. Nationwide, a total of 4,226 people in 49 states and four districts and territories have tested positive for COVID-19 and 75 people have died from the virus.
“The key here is that we slow this outbreak down as much as possible and we don’t overwhelm our very limited health care facilities here in West Michigan or anywhere else,” London said.