As Michigan confronts the most severe rise in recent coronavirus cases per capita in the United States, the state’s health officials announced on Friday that they will issue a face mask advisory in an effort to hamper the virus’s spread ahead of the holidays.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommended that all residents older than the age of 2 should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings, and urged businesses to implement a mandatory mask policy.
As of Thursday, the daily average of new cases increased 83 percent and the average number of hospitalizations increased 40 percent over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. The seven-day average of new cases was 8,393, and the average number of daily deaths was 67. The average number of hospitalizations, 3,224, remained lower than those in the spring.
“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan health department, said in a statement. “We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for Covid-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”
With airline travel this Thanksgiving season expected to approach prepandemic levels, according to Transportation Security Administration officials, Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, urged residents to abide by a range of mitigation measures as holiday season approaches.
“The holidays can be a time to spread great cheer and we recommend taking measures including wearing a mask indoors to not spread Covid-19 to loved ones,” she said in a statement.