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Shirki Health Experts: COVID Herd Immunity Would Kill 30,000 in Michigan

“At current mortality, that would mean more than 30,000 deaths.”

The letter followed Shirkey’s recent remarks, R-Clarklake, to Bridge Michigan, MLive and other news outlets that talk about what he called “oppressive mandates” contain the coronavirus.

MLive quoted him as saying:here no one should be misled or of the opinion that you can prevent it from spreading – it will spread, so we just do the best we can. He told Bridge it was time to “live with the virus.”


“It sounded like he was giving up the virus,” letter author Joshua Scharfstein of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health told Bridge.

“We do not believe in giving up. We believe it is still possible to respond. “

He authored the letter after Michigan Health Director Robert Gordon sent him an MLive article about Shirki’s comments.

Scarfstein said he had consulted with Whitmer and Michigan representatives “two or three times” about the virus. The letter was also signed by Dr. Ashish Ja, dean of the University School of Public Health in Brown, and Dr. Carlos Del Rio, a professor at Emory University School of Medicine.

“Herd immunity as a concept sounds good as long as other people get sick,” Scharfstein told Bridge.

The letter asked Shirki to clarify his remarks, “so as not to give the impression that a leader of your stature supports the greater spread of the coronavirus as a public policy.” He also requested a public hearing to study the science behind the virus and its ability to limit its spread.

Shirki “believes in The concept of herd immunity should be part of the discussion on the progress of COVID policies in the state, “his spokesman Amber McCann told Bridge on Monday.

“He is not a medical expert and is therefore open to research and experience by professionals who are willing to assess the topic,” McCann said. “I expect the Senate to hold several hearings in the coming days and weeks, at which medical professionals and others will be able to present their perspectives on best practices.”

The letter comes amid uncertainty in Michigan following a recent ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. hit dozens of Whitmer executive orders, including some that close businesses and require masks in public.

In recent weeks, deaths and deaths have risen as older people increasingly receive the virus, as hospitalizations have jumped from about 500 across the country to 900 in the last three weeks.

Senator Kurt Vander Wall, a Republican from Ludington who chairs the Health and Humanitarian Affairs Committee, said lawmakers were “digging and trying to learn” about science.

He echoed Shirky’s comments on herd immunity and criticized what he called “hasty statements” by experts who said the approach would lead to more deaths.

“Show me where in the world these figures come from,” Vanderval told Bridge.

Adherents of the herd immunity approach points to Sweden, which discouraged the use of masks and encouraged residents to live normally. The mortality of the nation of about 58 per 100,000 inhabitants is lower than that of the United States, Britain and Italy, but above that of France and Germany.

While the authors of the letter to Shirki cite 80 percent of the herd’s immunity, other experts say it can be achieved with about 40 percent of the population.

Michigan has about 150,000 confirmed and suspected cases, less than 2 percent of the population.

VanderWall said Monday that he expects his health policy and humanitarian services committee to “engage more” in the pandemic response following the Supreme Court ruling. He noted last week that the committee heard testimony on the House bill, which would provide legal immunity for healthcare providers and facilities that provide pandemic-related services, similar to the protections Whitmer has introduced through executive orders.

While Shirkey has already ruled out the possibility of running for the Senate, VanderWall told Bridge that he would not rule out a hearing on the “pros and cons” of the policy, which Gordon continued through public health orders.

But VanderWall has made it clear that he personally does not believe the term “benefits” Michigan citizens.

“We have a constitution, and government mandates take away citizens’ rights,” he said.

Sen. Winnie Brinks of the Grand Rapids, a Democrat on the health committee, called Shirkey’s latest comments about COVID-19 “incredibly irresponsible.”

She said Republican leaders, who “set the agenda,” had not signaled plans for a comprehensive COVID policy response hearing requested by public health experts.

“The hearings will be a really important step that needs to be taken in terms of developing our policy and our response, if the legislature really takes an active role in this,” she said.

– Bridge reporter Mike Wilkinson contributed to this article.

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