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Scientist: Michigan still two weeks away from COVID-19 peak

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Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 17:07:52-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday there were 18,970 cases of coronavirus in the state.

Scientists say that's good news because the rate of new infections is staying the same from day to day.

It's part of the "flattening the curve" doctors and government leaders have been talking about for several weeks.

This is how doctors describe the need to follow recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 so hospitals don't get overwhelmed.

"The long story short, nothing is going to change anytime soon," said Laura Harris, a mircobiology professor at Davenport University's Lansing campus.

Harris studies how quickly infections spread, currently focusing on COVID-19.

She said it is important to follow the stay home orders Governor Gretchen Whitmer is implementing.

"If we do come out of dormancy too soon, we're just going to see that spike instead of a plateau," said Harris.

Harris said scientists don't know how steep the curve is, they just know we are about halfway up it right now.

It will be another couple weeks before we reach the top of the curve, but on the way down, we still have to practice social distancing.

"Otherwise we are going to start to infect the people that haven't been exposed yet. That is just going to cause our plateau to start going up," said Harris.

Doctors and nurses are expecting this week to be one of the worst weeks for new coronavirus patients in Michigan.

However, Harris said data suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"I expect this week to be equal to next week, maybe even the week after. It should start to go down in about two weeks," she said.

Harris recognized seeing the number of reported cases continuously going up in Michigan can be overwhelming, but this kind of growth is normal.

"The main message is to stop panicking. What we're seeing is normal in nature. And it's explainable by mathematics," Harris said.

Harris said she's expecting life to return to normal around late May only if people continue to follow social distancing measures.

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