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@MyKitchenTable - April 16, 2021

@MyKitchenTable: Friday, April 16, 2021

Dear Friend:

 
“LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” — Isaiah 33:2

ImageOn Tuesday, the Capitol community and the nation mourned as we honored the life of fallen Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, a husband, father of two, and an 18-year veteran on the force. He laid in honor Tuesday afternoon after being killed by a driver earlier this month during yet another attack on the Capitol. The Capitol Police procession carried his remains to the Capitol, and I paid my respects. It was heartbreaking watching his wife and two young children standing there as the President and Congressional leaders spoke about him, a true hero. I knew him and saw him often as I drove on to the Capitol grounds. The Capitol Police put their life on the line every day to do their best to protect the rest of us. You will be missed, William “Billy” Evans. God bless.Image

I want to provide an update on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this week the FDA and CDC recommended a pause administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 individuals (out of nearly 7 million who’ve received the J&J vaccine) developed blood clots within two weeks of receiving the shot. Not a lot is known about the linkage between the blood clots and the vaccine but this is certainly a setb ack to the nation’s mass vaccination efforts. A CDC advisory group met to discuss the pause and decided to continue the pause until they had more information. We need to stress that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are completely safe and there have been no serious reported side effects linked with getting the vaccine. It’s so important folks know that were no corners cut in developing the vaccines and they are safe and effective.

We all have worked extremely hard over the past year to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. But that light at the end of the tunnel remains dark. Unfortunately, here in Michigan, we are going through yet another COVID-19 surge that is a lot like the one we went through at the end of 2020, with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all up.

My office and I have been in touch with our hospitals and local public health officials. We’re in contact with my Congressional colleagues across the state, the Governor’s office, and the White House.

My message to folks is simple – now that everyone 16 and older is eligible to receive the vaccine in Michigan, go get the damn shot. I talked to WWJ radio last Friday morning about the challenges we’re facing and the fact we need everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. I also talked to FOX News’ Neil Cavuto about those challenges and where we go from here. You can listen to the full interview HERE.

Earlier this week, the Governor participated in a press conference to announce the state is expanding the use of a COVID-19 treatment to reduce hospitalizations and deaths. Additional doses of monoclonal antibodies will be provided to our health care providers to help treat COVID-19, while vaccinations will help prevent it. We have a number of tools in our toolbox – we should be using all of them. The Governor also reported that 43.3% of Michiganders 16 and older have gotten their first vaccine shot and 28.8% are fully vaccinated. 62% of Michiganders 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

We are hearing some areas are having supply issues with the vaccine. That’s why last week my Democratic colleague Rep. Debbie Dingell and I sent a letter to President Biden to immediately send more COVID-19 vaccines to Michigan, so we can get shots to as many people as possible and end this surge. You can see that letter HERE. Other areas there are now more vaccines available than there are folks interested in getting one. These vaccines are not experimental – they are safe, they have been tested, and no corners were cut. They work, they protect you from hospitalizations and death and appear to help stop the spread of the virus. They are free to everyone. Period. We all want to get back to normal – these vaccines will help us do just that. To find the nearest vaccination site near you, please visit Michigan.gov/covidvaccine.

To show folks this is a safe vaccine, I have enjoyed seeing selfies of people getting their vaccinations. If you have a picture from your vaccine, send it to us, and we’d love to share it in our KT updates. You can submit your photo HERE.

Meijer, Walgreens, and Rite Aid pharmacies are also now hosting vaccine clinics for employers on-site.

The 7-day case average in Michigan is at 6,789 and starting to decline a bit. We still have a long way to go, though. The 7-day positivity rate in SW MI’s six counties ranges from 15% to 22.5%. You can see those latest stats from MLIVE HERE. MLIVE also has another story showing Michigan had more COVID-19 cases between April 7 – 10 than in the entire month of February, which you can see HERE. The New York Times has a full county by county breakdown of Michigan and its COVID numbers, which you can see HERE. It is so important that if you have COVID-19 symptoms, get them treated early. Don’t wait for them to get worse. The Detroit News has an article about when you should go to the hospital, which you can see HERE.

Regarding vaccination stats, more than 5 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered (about 3.5 million Michiganders), which you can see HERE. The state also announced they are improving its COVID-19 vaccination dashboard to more clearly summarize the vaccination data, which you can see HERE. Remember all individuals 16 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine, so please go and get an appointment as soon as possible, and let’s end this pandemic once and for all.

CNN has an important article that details the surge in Michigan might be a sign of things to come in other states as variants spread and infect younger people who are not yet vaccinated, which you can read HERE. Again, this reiterates why it is so important that we vaccinate as many people as possible against this vicious virus.

One other vaccine update I’d like to share is that my office has received a number of calls from veterans looking for appointments. Coming up there are mass vaccination events planned to do more vaccinations at the Wyoming VA Outpatient Clinic on April 17, 2021. There are a variety of mobile clinics planned throughout the 22 counties of West and Southwest Michigan as well in the coming weeks. You can find a complete list HERE.

Lastly, the Problem Solvers Caucus and I had a meeting at the White House Wednesday afternoon with senior White House staffers, including President Biden’s Chief of Staff, about the COVID-19 surge and the infrastructure package, among other topics. Look, A ‘my way or the highway’ approach on infrastructure won’t work for Michigan or the country. That’s why I made clear that we need to work together to pass a bold, bipartisan infrastructure package, and we need to continue to work together on a bipartisan basis on a number of issues.

Next week, the PSC and I are also meeting with a bipartisan group of our nation’s Governors and U.S. Senators to determine the most effective way we can all work together to solve some of our nation’s most challenging issues. Stay tuned!

Have a good weekend. Be safe!

 

All the best,

 

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