Doctors caution against vaccine fear, accusations of racism at Somerset, five-car crash on I-94

An incredibly rare side effect reported in people after they received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has prompted a nationwide pause on administering more shots.

It's only a precaution, members of the Food and Drug Administration say, and that the vaccine should be offered again in a "matter of days." 

While the vaccine supply might take a hit, it's the mistrust of the Johnson & Johnson treatment stemming from the pause that might create bigger issues in the country's effort to inoculate enough citizens. 

The timing was bad for much of Michigan, already embroiled in the country's worst outbreak. It's even worse for Detroit, which had planned on using its Neighborhood Vaccine Week to boost the city's lagging infection rate with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

The city is able to pivot to its two-shot doses instead. But it will now take longer to protect residents in one of America's poorest cities. 

"We have more than 400 people in the hospital just in the city of Detroit. The highest number we've seen in a year," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "We need to get vaccinated and in the city of Detroit, we have the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines."

Audrey Odom had planned on getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She had scheduled an appointment for Tuesday at a neighborhood clinic. But as she was getting ready to leave the house, her husband said "you better stop - there's a program on about Johnson & Johnson."

That was the conundrum that many people found themselves in Tuesday morning; scheduled to get a shot to protect them from the coronavirus, but was also present in six cases of severe blood clotting that resulted in one death and another hospitalization. 

It's not clear if the two are connected. European officials found a small link between the rare side effect and the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine. But what is clear is that these six cases occurred over nearly 7 million shots - which easily fits the definition of rare. Doctors warned on Tuesday that caution is key, but the pause shouldn't discourage anyone from getting vaccinated.

"We need to be very cautious with this," Beaumont Dr. Christopher Carpenter said. "But we still have a pandemic - especially in our state - we're getting hit incredibly hard right now. The hospitals are full, actually overflowing right now, we have patients dying."

On Wednesday, Neighborhood Vaccine Week came to Cass Tech. The clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offer both Pfizer and Moderna shots. 

For more information on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and its pause, check out any of the information below:

Rep. Tlaib tweets that police should be abolished after Daunte Wright killing

The latest police shooting of a Black man is beginning to draw more attention from public officials and citizens after the officer involved in the incident and her superior resigned. The shooting happened in a Minneapolis suburb during the Derek Chauvin trial, a high-profile police shooting that sparked demonstrations across the country.

From those protests came debates about the role of police in communities. Last night, Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted they should be abolished. "Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist," she posted. "No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed."

Familiar sides were taken as a result of Tlaib's statement. Many argued the system is broken and weighs heavily on taxpayers due to the country's mass state of incarceration. 

But others, like Detroit Police Chief James Craig, said that support for law enforcement has fallen, which leads to recruitment issues and retaining officers in cities. Another retired Detroit officer said it's easier to criticize than to live in the world of law enforcement. 

Debit card glitch leads to accusations of discrimination at Somerset store

When Attorney Stephen Lovell's card gets declined, the staff assumes it's a problem with the bank or card. "But because my client is Black, they assumed she was a criminal and treated her like one."

That's the latest case taken up by Detroit's Civil Rights Law Firm. On April 6, Charvelle Carter when to make a $2,500 purchase at the Louis Vuitton store inside Troy's Somerset Collection.

Carter was on the phone with her bank when she walked into the store, trying to figure out any issues before she decided to buy something. But when the card was declined, she says the cashier called the police and said a customer was using a stolen credit card. "Which couldn't be farther from the truth," Lovell said.

But that didn't stop two Troy police officers from detaining Carter, snatching her debit card and threatening her arrest. Troy police deny any accusations of racism and released a lengthy statement detailing events that include officers failing to confirm if the card was valid before releasing Carter. "We encourage any interested party to complete a FOIA request for further information."

Emergency rules officially extended for workplaces 

With Michigan playing host to the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, the state's occupational safety and health administration have officially extended restrictions on workplaces until Oct. 14, 2021. 

That date can be modified, depending on which direction new cases move in the months ahead, but for now, it remains one of the few added restrictions now in place since infections began surging in Michigan. From Sept. 3 to April 1, public health departments have tracked outbreaks in 670 manufacturing and construction sites, 250 in restaurants, 374 in retail stores, 332 in office settings, and 52 in personal care serviecs.

Under the emergency rules, any in-person work must be done with a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, proper PPE use, and steps workers can take to notify businesses of coronavirus symptoms.

While in-person work is allowed when remote work is not feasible, remote work is still recommended as a strategy to minimize in-person contact. 

Michigan State Police respond to five-car crash on I-94

State troopers responded to a five-car crash on the highway earlier Wednesday morning.

Around 5:25 a.m., MSP was dispatched to westbound I-94 near Grand River. A preliminary investigation revealed a car had been blocking the left lane of westbound I-94.

While troopers were heading there, a second call came in about a rollover crash. Police said the driver of the first crash got out and was struck by another vehicle and killed.

Police ask people to avoid the area as an investigation is ongoing.

What else we're watching

  1. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to hold a press conference later today in the afternoon. It'll be her first since Friday and second in months. Considering the circumstances, she'll have a lot to discuss.
  2. State House lawmakers introduced a package of bills that would require all candidates for state or judicial office to file financial disclosures with the Secretary of State. Michigan currently has almost no restrictions on voting on legislation when a conflict of interest is present.
  3. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into complaints of airbags not deploying in GM vehicles
  4. U.S. Rep Brenda Lawrence and the Congressional Black Caucus met with President Joe Biden Tuesday to discuss plans on increasing trust within minority communities and getting the vaccine.
  5. Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas want to be part of restoring Detroit. The scrappy visionaries have been buying run-down properties in the city and transforming them into affordable housing. Their show on HGTV will premier tonight.

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Daily Forecast

The weather is turning the temperature dial down slightly for the next few days, with a high of 57 expected for Wednesday. No rain is expected today, but it could come Thursday.

St. Vincent’s volcano continues to erupt, tainting water supply and forcing evacuations

Videos coming out of the Caribbean are showing the devastating effects of the recent and continued eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano on the island of St. Vincent.

Plumes of smoke continue to billow into the air as precious resources are being tainted by the falling ash.

Satellite footage recorded the exact moment of just one of the many eruptions that have taken place on April 13 since the beginning of the volcanic activity on April 9.

Leaders of St. Vincent said Tuesday that water is running short and they estimated that the island will need hundreds of millions of dollars to recover from the eruption.