Fauci worried about hospitalizations among vaccinated, Michigan man faces poaching charges, booster shots

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, echoed the importance of COVID-19 vaccine boosters following reports of an uptick in hospitalizations among people who have been inoculated.

Speaking in an interview with NBC News, Fauci expressed concern over the number of fully vaccinated individuals who have not received a booster shot and have been hospitalized.

"What we’re starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who’ve been vaccinated but not boosted," Fauci said Tuesday. "It’s a significant proportion, but not the majority by any means."

The following day, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned of a decline in vaccine efficacy among the elderly.

"Although the highest risk are those people who are unvaccinated, we are seeing an increase in emergency department visits among adults 65 and older, which are now again higher than they are for younger age groups," Walensky said Wednesday at a White House COVID-19 press briefing.

Walensky pointed out that rates of COVID-19 infections between people who are vaccinated with the initial doses and those who received boosters are notable.

"The rate of disease is markedly lower for those who received their booster shot, demonstrating our boosters are working," she said.

"Studies show that those who are unvaccinated continue to be more likely to be infected, more likely to be in the hospital and more likely to have severe complications from COVID-19," Walensky added.

Speaking at the same White House briefing, Fauci said that COVID-19 is not yet at the level of being reduced to an endemic illness, despite increased efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible and that includes getting people to get a booster shot to improve the chances of effectiveness.

Fauci said he doesn’t believe COVID-19 will ultimately be eradicated, but he feels confident that vaccination is the best tool to eliminate the disease from a particular region.

"We’ve eliminated diseases by vaccination, like polio in the United States, as it exists in other places. We’ve eliminated measles in the United States; it exists in other places. We’ve eliminated malaria years and years ago, but it exists in other places," Fauci said.

Fauci added that while it won’t be anytime soon when COVID-19 completely disappears from the world, the goal is to reduce its spread to a level where it does not dominate normal life.

Teen safe and 2 in custody after attempted kidnapping

A teenage girl is home safe after a suspected kidnapping from a gas station - and two suspects are now in custody. "I was scared because my granddaughters go down to the gas station," said Jacqueline Bowe, whose kids go to Ferndale High School.  

A gas station where it took place is off Eight Mile less than five blocks from Ferndale High School, a popular hang-out spot for students. The female student was filling up gas there, during a break in classes when Ferndale police say, she was allegedly abducted. They say hours after she was reportedly taken, she was located and safely returned back with her family. 

"It is crazy," Bowe said. "I'm glad they found her, it could have been my granddaughter." The police are now working with the FBI on the case and keeping things close to the vest on details of the situation. In the meantime, some parents are keeping their kids close. "I'm a little disappointed, kids want to be kids, they don't want to look out for the bad guy," said Candis Lee.  

Lee picked her daughter up Thursday and says she’s anxious to learn more about what happened. "You got a couple of bad guys off the street but we don't know who else is out there," she said. "So like I said, no more walks for my baby." Investigators will be handing over the case to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office Friday and they’ll make a decision on charges.

Michigan man faces poaching and weapons charges

A man is facing 15 charges from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources after nine bucks were allegedly found during a domestic violence investigation. Justin Ernst is suspected of driving his truck through fields, shining and shooting deer. He has a 2018 DNR conviction for illegally taking or possessing whitetail deer.

Michigan State Police spotted several deer in a Van Buren County barn while investigating a domestic violence complaint involving 33-year-old Ernst on Oct. 17. According to the DNR, Ernst hadn't been located by police after the domestic violence complaint. However, the homeowner gave officers permission to search. The homeowner also told the officers that Ernst, who they believed was under the influence of methamphetamine, would stay out all night then a new buck would be in the barn in the morning, authorities said.

Justin Ernst (Photo: MDOC)

DNR officers found and seized five 10-point bucks and three and three 8-point bucks. According to the DNR during an executed search warrant, they found two shotguns and a crossbow, a bloody crossbow bolt from the bed of Ernst’s vehicle, a cellphone that didn’t work, and a handheld spotlight located under the driver’s seat of Ernst’s vehicle.

In addition to the DNR conviction from 2018, Ernst has previous convictions for possession of methamphetamine or ecstasy, third-degree fleeing a police officer, and third offense operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor. He is charged with nine counts of taking game illegally, two counts of firearm possession by a felon, two felony firearms violations, one count of hunting with a revoked hunting license, and one count of applying for, or obtaining, a hunting license when ineligible.

Michigan Lt. governor getting Covid Booster Friday

With Michigan holding the highest COVID-19 case rate in the country, health officials are continuing to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated. But even as it battles the expanding infections, the next stage in recovering from the pandemic is nearing.

Officials with the CDC will be considering the feasibility of COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna on Friday. Both companies have asked for approval from the government to begin distributing the extra shot, which experts agree will be necessary to combat the waning immunity that two-dose shots provide. 

Some states have already expanded their booster rollout to include all adults. In Michigan, booster shots are reserved for elderly or immunocompromised patients that received their 2-dose serious more than 6 months ago. 

In Detroit, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist will be getting his booster shot Friday. He'll be at a CVS on MicNichols on Detroit's west side. 

Church's Chicken in Highland Park offering free chicken for a year

The grand opening of a new Church's Chicken in Highland Park comes with some benefits for those that are willing to get there early.

The first 45 customers at Church's Chicken on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park will be awarded coupon booklets that are filled with free offers for a number of chicken orders. A release announcing the new restaurant and the business's 45th anniversary says the booklet is valued at $250. Customers may begin lining up at 8 a.m.

"This is an exciting time for Church’s Chicken as we continue to refresh our Michigan restaurants with even bolder Texas-inspired design," said Sam Askar, CEO of QSR Group in a release. "We can’t wait for our guests to experience the same Down-Home Flavor at our new, upgraded Highland Park location that has been enjoyed nationwide for nearly 70 years."

Five-dollar gift cards will also be handed out alongside two-piece combo meals. Additionally, the company will donate 20% of grand opening proceeds to the Highland Park Jets Cheerleading Squad, who will be at the grand opening. 

What else we're watching

  1. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed spending $300 million to replace lead lines in local utilities and cities around Michigan. The state still has billions in unspent discretionary funds from the March rescue package.
  2. Ford has mapped out a plan to ensure it won't fall behind in chip supply. The automaker is teaming up with a manufacturer in the U.S. to boost supplies for both the company and the industry.
  3. Drivers beware, paving work on Twelve Mile in Roseville will close the street for the first half of Friday. Utica Road will be closed the first half of Saturday.
  4. Democrats approved the president's large social spending bill late Thursday night, sending the package to the Senate. It's future there is unclear amid some holdouts from moderate Democrats.
  5. The FBI is said to be searching a Jersey City landfill for Jimmy Hoffa's remains. The former union boss disappeared during a visit to Michigan and hasn't been seen since.

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Daily Forecast

It's going to be a sunny but blustery Friday as the cold keeps Michigan chilly for much of the weekend. While much of the state will see some lake effect snow on Saturday and Sunday, Metro Detroit won't get more than rain. 

CDC panel to discuss expanding COVID-19 booster shots to all US adults

An influential advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet on Friday to discuss expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all American adults.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have asked U.S. regulators to allow boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 18 or older. Pfizer submitted its application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week, and Moderna on Wednesday announced that it had filed an emergency use authorization request.

The FDA was expected to sign off on at least Pfizer’s application before the advisory panel meets Friday.

The CDC’s panel, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is set to meet from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET to discuss expanding Pfizer’s booster shot eligibility. The final step — CDC’s official recommendation — could come soon after the meeting.