Michigan's mask policy contradiction, Metro Detroit rap duo allegedly frauded IRS, a foster mom's funeral

Great news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has thrown a wrench in Michigan's reopening plan that linked vaccine coverage to lifting restrictions.

Yesterday, the CDC said people who are vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings, with the exception of hospitals, airplanes, nursing homes, and other public transportation. But according to the Mi Vacc to Normal plan, Michigan wouldn't be lifting its mask mandate until 70% of the population has received at least one shot.

What's a governor to do when federal health officials offer advice that contradicts the well-tailored strategy rolled out by the state health department?

Currently, it's reviewing what to do next. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services declined to elaborate on what exactly that means or what steps it could take in the near future. 

It was an extremely busy week for disease and health experts tasked with guiding the country out of the pandemic. They greenlighted the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents 12 and older. They got caught up in being overly cautious about outdoor settings where less than 1% of infections occurred during the pandemic.

And now they're lifting mask rules for vaccinated people. 

For some, the advice may be encouraging news but it's not enough to influence behavior yet.

"We still feel comfortable wearing the mask even though we've been vaccinated because not everybody is going to follow those guidelines or are going to use "I'm vaccinated" as an excuse to take it off even if they haven't been," said one Metro Detroiter on Thursday.

According to the state's dashboard, 55.6% of the state has gotten at least one shot. That was enough to trigger the state's first benchmark in two weeks when it lifts restrictions on in-office workplaces. But since then the number of people getting their first shot has dropped sharply, making Michigan's vaccine march much slower. 

So far, 117 million Americans are fully vaccinated, including 4.2 million Michigan residents.

Family of devoted foster mom need help for her funeral

Helen Kelley cared for dozens of foster children over the years. Now, the 48 kids she helped raise are asking for help as they try to honor her memory now that she has died. 

"All the children that came through her doors, they loved her," said Rosetta Taylor, her sister. "And this house on Santa Barbara became a home and rest haven for nearly 50 kids who desperately needed one."

Kelley died in Georgia last week at the age of 85. It cost a lot just to have her shipped back up to Michigan Her sister wants her to be placed where the rest of her family has been buried at Memorial Cemetery. "The in-laws and sisters and brothers are there."

A product of Detroit in the 1970s, she raised children for decades on the city's west side. Both she and her husband were named Foster Parents of the Year in 1998 and 1999. Her sister said Kelley's passion for fostering came from her not having any children of her own. She eventually stopped taking in kids when her husband died in 2004. If you would like to help the family donate HERE to the GoFundMe.

Metro Detroit rappers charged with frauding IRS

Members of the rap duo Deuces Wild have both been charged with identity theft, false claims, and conspiracy after they allegedly stole more than $5 million from the IRS in an elaborate tax scheme between 2013 and 2017,

Sameerah Marrel of Detroit and Noelle Brown of Romulus, who went by Creme and Brown respectively, had filed 122 returns worth $13.6 million from Michigan, Georgia as well as from several electronic locations. Many of the filings had similar pieces of information that allowed law enforcement to build a case and narrow in on the suspected thieves.

An agent with the IRS confirmed that Marrel opened at least 29 bank accounts from 2014-2018 which were used to deposit fraudulent checks. Money was also wired to the accounts of people who are real but had never made any refund request.

Both women face up to 10 years in federal prison if they're convicted. 

Pontiac teen in critical condition after minibike crash

For Rebecca Lopez, it's a "wait-and-see game" at Beaumont hospital, where she's been cooped up since May 2. Both of her sons Luis and Ricardo were struck by a car in Waterford Township while riding a minibike. Ricardo, who was celebrating his 13th birthday that day broke his leg while Luis is in critical condition.

Luis came into the hospital in a coma after suffering from a traumatic brain injury and broken femurs. He also fractured his knee,  jaw, and wrist. The 14-year-old has already undergone multiple surgeries.  

"I want him to wake up, I want him to come home, I want him to fix mini bikes like he's always done," Rebecca said. "And then the doctors have to put it in perspective and wake me up, and say he's not going to be the same."

With so much uncertainty and bills continuing to grow - the Lopez family has started a GoFundMe account. Luis will eventually need a wheelchair, a ramp, and an accessible van, which the family says they simply can't afford.

Three reasons to vaccinate your kids

The Pfizer vaccine has been deemed safe to administer to adolescents age 12-15, which broadens the eligibility in Michigan to include most middle and high school students. And yet, even as the state wiggles its way forward with growing vaccine coverage, there is still hesitancy. That has certainly trickled down to parents who don't want their kid receiving the shot. Here are three reasons why they should consider it.

Kids are not immune to COVID-19. At least 10 have died from COVID-19 in Michigan and hundreds have been hospitalized. Several have also developed a rare organ inflammatory condition as a result of contracting the virus.

Kids carry the virus longer than adults. Even if their symptoms are very mild, they could still be spreading it for weeks after becoming contagious. "Children actually shed the virus in larger amounts than an adult with the same infection and for longer periods of time," said Dr. Bishara Freji, the chief of pediatric infectious disease at Beaumont.

Vaccinations can prevent variants. Those variants are partly why Michigan experienced its third surge and partly why India is losing citizens in record numbers. Fewer infections means less chance the virus mutates and becomes more dangerous.

What else we're watching

  1. No, you cannot and should not purchase a Secretary of State appointment off of the Facebook marketplace. Some thieves are selling the coveted spots for cheap money in a clever little scam.
  2. A poll conducted by the Michigan Independent Source of News & Information found Whitmer leads Detroit Police Chief James Craig 48 to 42 in a hypothetical matchup for governor. When against John James, Whitmer was up 10 points.
  3. For all you campers out there, be wary of campfires and burning debris as there is potential for high fire damage across the state. And it doesn't look like any rain is on the way anytime soon.
  4. Stay away from Oakland County's I-75 this weekend as northbound and southbound lanes from I-696 to 8 Mile will be closed for bridge construction
  5. Cedar Point is now officially open for business. But there's plenty of things to know about changes in policy at the amusement park location. 

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Daily Forecast

The gradual climb of temperatures will reach 72 degrees while cloudy conditions will resume around midday. The weekend promises the same warmth and more clouds.

India reporting ‘black fungus’ infections in some COVID-19 patients

India’s health officials warned the country’s doctors to be on the lookout for mucormycosis, or so-called "black fungus" infections among coronavirus patients, particularly those with diabetes. The infection, which could be fatal, may cause black discoloration of the nose, facial pain, numbing or swelling, fever, chest pain or other issues.  

The infection, which is caused by a group of molds that live in the environment, most commonly affects the sinuses or lungs after inhaling fungal spores, but can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn or other injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Those most at-risk for the rare infection are patients with diabetes, cancer, transplant recipients, those patients with low white blood cell counts, those with long-term corticosteroid use, a history of injection drug use, patients with high iron, and premature or low birthweight babies.

The infection cannot be spread between patients or animals.