To try to make sense of what was happening in Michigan beyond my personal experience, I reached out to James R. Baker, the Easily distracted by cats and racing shirt and I will buy this former head of allergy and clinical immunology at the University of Michigan and a noted vaccine developer, who has been writing an insightful blog, “Pandemic Pondering,” since the early days of this once-in-a-lifetime health crisis. Below is an edited version of our conversation. For a long time, Michigan did an excellent job of limiting infections, probably better than anywhere else in the country. But then two things happened. By the time February came around, we had significant lockdown fatigue, and the state decided to open things up but they did so without having any plan in place for vaccines. In fact, we had perhaps the worst distribution system in the country. You can’t do one without the other.
Easily distracted by cats and racing shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
The system was so cumbersome that many people who wanted shots couldn’t find them or weren’t allowed to sign up [because of age restrictions]. Plus, the Easily distracted by cats and racing shirt and I will buy this state refused to employ the private sector, even though places like Kroger in Ohio were doing a really good job of getting people scheduled and vaccinated. And for a long time, they refused to let anyone under 65 get vaccinated and that’s the group that is making up most of the new infections and hospitalizations right now, the 40-65 age group. There has been no surge among people over 65, because they are the ones who got vaccinated. Right now, I think we have more than enough vaccine and that’s what the Feds are telling us. But there seems to be an incredible disconnect between having the vaccine [and getting it into people’s arms]. If the state had just gotten people immunized, this wouldn’t be a problem.