Mackinac Policy Conference COVID-19 outbreak rises to 30 known cases


MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — A COVID-19 outbreak at the Mackinac Policy Conference doubled on Tuesday to at least 30 known cases.

Among them are US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Detroit City Councilman Coleman A. Young II. Both reported mild symptoms.

“Given an event of this magnitude and the current spread we are seeing, are you surprised to see numbers like this?” 7 Action News reporter Brett Kast asked Dr Matthew Sims of Beaumont Health.

“No,” Sims replied. “When you have any type of event when there are a lot of people in a relatively small area mixing and mingling and so on, all it takes is dropping one person at the environment that has COVID to spread.”

The Detroit Regional Chamber said it will keep the COVID-19 hotline open this week, asking attendees to report if they test positive. The event required attendees to be vaccinated or test negative.

“They have a good policy in place,” Sims said. “But until we have a vaccine that really prevents infection, we can still have breakthrough cases.”

On Tuesday, an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration recommended the use of another COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax. Although the vaccine is designed for the original variant of COVID-19, it is a more traditional protein-based vaccine.

The FDA hopes it will be accepted by those hesitant to take mRNA vaccines.

“Anything we can do to make people more comfortable accepting these potentially life-saving medical products is something we believe we are prepared to do,” said FDA center director Dr. Peter Marks. Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

While breakthrough cases have become more common with current vaccines, Sims says they still save lives by preventing serious disease. With all of Metro Detroit having high levels of community transmission, Sims still calls for some precaution.

“Like everyone else, I want to move on to a more normal life,” Sims said. “But right now for me, a more normal life is when I’m with a group of people…I’m wearing a mask.”

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