"By the recent numbers, we know we've got a bit of a reality check happening. We know that COVID is still very present and is still a very real threat. We may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in the tunnel."
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that a factor in Michigan's surging COVID-19 cases is fewer people were infected earlier in the pandemic than in other states, and she expressed concern about spring break travel to Florida.
Florida and Michigan have reported the highest and second-highest number of cases of a more contagious variant that was first identified in Britain. Michigan has the country's worst infection rate in the past week.
She urged people returning from Florida to work from home and have their kids learn virtually for at least a week. She later recommended that people get tested after in-state, out-of-state or international travel.
The variant is up to 50% more transmissible than the coronavirus that surged last spring and again in the fall, making it more adept at thwarting measures that were previously effective. Scientists have concluded it is also more deadly.
Whitmer remained averse to tightening restrictions and continued to emphasize vaccines, which have been given to at least 35% of people ages 16 and older. She said she will get her first shot Tuesday, alongside one of her daughters, a day after eligibility opens to the entire population except children under 16.
"By the recent numbers, we know we've got a bit of a reality check happening. We know that COVID is still very present and is still a very real threat. We may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in the tunnel," Whitmer said while attending the opening of a large-scale vaccination site in Oakland County.
She said Michigan did well keeping COVID-19 metrics low.
"Because of that, we've got fewer people per capita who have antibodies than a lot of other states do," she said.