Michigan, under the leadership of Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, topped the U.S. daily tally of new coronavirus cases this week despite standing as a blue state with a mask mandate firmly in place.
The state reported a record number of new cases on Monday, 11,082. The figure bests its last daily peak, 10,140, which it hit months ago on November 20. The state has reported roughly 780,000 cumulative cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.
“Michigan is currently the worst affected U.S. state in terms of new cases and hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the week to April 5,” Reuters reported, adding that Michigan stands as the only state to report over 7,000 new cases on Monday.
Meanwhile, red states, such as Florida, continue to report fewer new cases of the virus despite fully lifting business restrictions and having no mask mandate in place.
According to April 5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, Florida reported 24.5 cases of the virus per 100,000 in the last seven days, or 36,763 in that time span. In contrast, blue Michigan has reported 64.6 cases per 100,000 in the last week, or 45,192 total.
Notably, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) never implemented a statewide mask mandate, whereas Michigan currently requires residents to wear a mask “any time people from two or more households are present in any shared space,” including outdoors. The state also promotes wearing a mask while exercising “if it does not interfere in the exercise, even when not required.” It also promotes the concept of double-masking.
“Wearing two masks is an easy way to increase your protection against COVID-19 [coronavirus],” the state’s guidance reads. “The protection offered by masks is limited by the way the mask fits.”
“An ill-fitting mask does not offer the best protection against COVID-19. Double masking is an easy way to improve fit, which also improves protection,” it adds.
Michigan has opened vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older, which went into effect April 5. The state has administered 4.9 million doses, per the CDC’s April 5 data. According to a report from the Detroit News, 246 “fully vaccinated” Michigan residents have since contracted the virus, and three have died.
“Some of these individuals may ultimately be excluded from this list due to continuing to test positive from a recent infection prior to being fully vaccinated,” a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said, noting the cases are “undergoing further review to determine if they meet other CDC criteria for determination of potential breakthrough, including the absence of a positive antigen or PCR test less than 45 days prior to the post-vaccination positive test.”
“In general, these persons have been more likely to be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic compared with vaccinated persons,” she added.