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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Ask Dr. Nandi: What's fueling COVID spike in Michigan?

Posted at 8:11 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 20:11:47-04

(WSYM) — Michigan added over 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus to its growing tally today - almost double what was recorded yesterday. Our Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi joins us now to explain what’s fueling the spike. Dr. Nandi, are school sports continuing to drive up our numbers, or is it something else?

Dr. Nandi:
That’s part of the answer. Cases over the last five weeks have increased for kids between the ages of 10 and 19. With 301 new and ongoing outbreaks linked to K-12 schools. And teen sports are definitely a hot spot right now for the virus. This is why Michigan has mandated that all teen student-athletes get tested on a weekly basis. But we can’t blame everything on the kids. Michigan has 35 outbreaks connected to long-term care facilities. Another 29 outbreaks have been linked to childcare programs. Plus another 43 in manufacturing and another 27 outbreaks connected to retail stores. Now, why is there so much spread? Well, likely because of pandemic fatigue, families traveling during spring break, people gathering and moving about more, and of course, the variant first identified in Britain, B.1.1.7. And unfortunately, Michigan has the second most recorded cases of this very contagious variant in the US.

Question: The CDC has teams on the ground here in Michigan, what’s going on with that?
I think it’s great that the CDC is here. They’re helping with a few things. First of all, they’re assessing the outbreaks that have been happening at the correctional facilities. They’re also trying to see what’s behind our surge in numbers. So they’re doing more surveillance. And they’re sequencing more virus samples. Together, these can help us figure out if the variant from Britain, B.1.1.7 is really behind the spike in numbers or if it’s another variant or something else altogether. Plus, the CDC is also working on increasing testing for youth sports. In hopes that we can catch those who are infected and get them isolated so we see less spread in the community.

Question: Switching topics, new research has found 1 in 3 COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or neurological condition. Dr. Nandi, can you tell us what they found?

This study involved more than 236,000 patients aged 10 and up who had COVID-19. And what the researchers did, was analyze electronic health records. And the data revealed that more than one-third had developed mental health or neurological disorder within six months of being infected. Here’s what the researchers found:
- 17% of the patients were diagnosed with anxiety
- 14% had mood disorders
- 7% had substance abuse disorders
- 7% suffered a stroke while in intensive care
- 5% had insomnia and
- 2% were diagnosed with dementia

Now, I think folks really need to pay attention to this. No one knows for sure what the virus will do to their body. So please, don’t brush off this new research. The goal is to avoid the virus. So don’t let pandemic fatigue and warm weather be an excuse to throw caution to the wind. Mask up, continue to social distance, avoid crowds, and get vaccinated when you can.