DETROIT (WXYZ) – COVID-19 cases in the United States are starting to rise again as the country prepares to hit 1 million total COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic began.
This also comes as the White House warns of another looming increase later in the year that could lead to 100 million new infections.
“It was like I had the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis all at once,” said Dave Fital of Shelby Towship, who recently battled COVID-19. “I’m 54 years old and it was the sickest thing I’ve ever been in my time. Life.”
Fital is one of the growing number of Detroiter subway stations that have been diagnosed with COVID-19. He has been fully recovered for more than a week now after battling COVID-19 at home, but says it was not easy.
“It was awful for me,” Fital said. “I was really sick in bed, could not do anything for probably three to four days.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using data from hospitalizations, all counties in metro Detroit have gone from low-risk to medium-risk since last week. A new omicron sub-variant, BA.2.12.1, is currently on its way through the US, accounting for around 30% of all new cases.
“This virus just mutates super, super fast. We have no other virus that changes that fast,” said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Henry Ford Health. “Influenza, which is a typical virus, we think about, changing year to year. This changes almost every few months. “
Cunningham says the Henry Ford Health System COVID-19 admissions have increased by over 30% to 40% this week, as other local hospitals are also reporting increases. However, the figures are still much lower than previous increases.
Henry Ford currently has about 55 COVID-19 patients in the entire system, while Beaumont Health has about 136 and Michigan Medicine has 26 according to their respective websites.
“Right now the numbers are manageable, but if we keep that speed up, we could be in yet another climb that is as bad as the last one,” Cunningham said.
That said, the spread is growing. Henry Ford’s positivity rate is now 17%.
“It’s pretty loud,” Cunningham said. “We had been as low as 3%, 4%, 5% and 6%, so this has definitely been a change over the last 10 days.”
Cunningham says he now wears a mask when in public and advises others to consider doing the same in hopes of preventing cases from growing too fast.
“I’m not saying we should all panic, but we need to take some steps to keep it under control,” Cunningham said.