Covid cases climbing in Michigan with dangerous surge as variants to blame

It happened last spring at the height of COVID-19 infections and it is ramping up again right now - health care workers and hospitals getting overrun with COVID-19 patients.  

"It's stressful, it's tiring, it is causing stress, fatigue, and burnout," said Dr. Matthew Sims, Beaumont. "End of February in Royal Oak we were down to less than 20 covid patients. As of this morning, it's over 170." 

Sims, the head of infectious disease research at Beaumont Health, says he's treating mostly 30 to 50 years olds, but there are 20-year-olds also in the Covid units.  
"The patients seem sicker," Sims said. "I'm giving an awful lot more of the drugs that we save for the sicker patients."  
He says it's spreading as fast as it ever has, blaming the UK variant, B-117 for being more contagious and affecting younger people.  
"There is some good evidence that B-117 affects children more and makes them sicker," he said.  
The state's loosening of restrictions as we simultaneously got hit with B-117, is keeping Michigan in the lead in terms of Covid cases by population.  
"While we have better treatments than we had then, we don't have a magic bullet against Covid," he said. "I don't have a magic drug that I know I can give and 90 percent of the people will get better on." 
Sims said this is the first time in months he's even mentioned a shutdown. 

 "There are different ways to employ restrictions that are not necessarily as bad as shutting down completely, but shutting down completely may be necessary," he said. 
The head of the CDC said this week stricter restrictions are needed in Michigan, after showing that 63 of 83 counties had double-digit increases in Covid positivity rates in the last week.  
"Everybody wants to get back to normal life right now," Sims said. "We are not quite ready to be there yet."  

Sims said weather plays a role too because it has remained cold in the northern states forcing people to stay in more, as opposed to southern states where more outside activity is possible.