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Michigan Health Officials Report 718 New COVID-19 Cases, 15 Deaths

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Michigan health officials are reporting 718 new cases of the coronavirus and 15 additional COVID-19 deaths.

Of the 15 deaths announced Tuesday, 8 were identified during a vital records review.

Michigan now has 103,186 total confirmed coronavirus cases and 6,495 COVID-19 deaths.

Monday the state was at 102,468 confirmed cases with 6,480 deaths.

The state is now providing weekly updates on the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. These numbers will be updated every Saturday.

As of August 28, 76,151 are being reported as recovered in Michigan.

The state defines ‘recovered’ as the number of persons with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis who are alive 30 days post-onset (or referral date if onset is not available).

Right now the state is reporting almost 200 ongoing COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks.

The numbers that contribute to that will now be reported on a different schedule.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will now report cases, deaths and testing on its website Monday through Saturday.

The state says that’s because the weekend data is often erratic and lower than other days due to reduced testing and lab staffing.

“At this time, reporting on Sunday rather than Monday is not critical to our understanding of the virus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “This change will allow staff who have not had a real day off since February to get some relief and allow the department to prioritize more valuable data reporting, including school outbreak information.”

Sunday and Monday data will be combined and reported on Mondays.

With other fairs and festivals canceled this year due to COVID-19, Manton wanted to continue their annual Labor Day weekend Harvest Festival.

“It’s our biggest event in the community,” said Manton Harvest Festival Committee President Mike Moffit. “It brings people together.”

Some of their festival events had to be canceled, including the firefighter’s pancake breakfast and Manton High School alumni banquet. This year, they plan on bringing some new acts to the festival.

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says they may consider allowing a COVID-19 vaccine to be put on the market before finishing all phases of clinical trials.

In the U.S., two vaccines are in phase three clinical trials right now, which is the step determining whether a vaccine is effective and safe.

Now the FDA says they will consider allowing drug makers to put vaccines on the market without completing that phase.

But experts are concerned about rushing a vaccine to market before clinical trials are complete.

Harvard Global Health Institute Director Dr. Ashish Jha says, “If you’re going to give it to millions of people who are otherwise healthy, you have to have a much higher bar, and so what I would like to see is really robust data, ideally a full review before we go ahead and authorize any kind of a vaccine.”

Drug makers are also dealing with a lack of trust in the vaccine from the public. The FDA says they are working to reassure the public about the safety of future vaccines.

When FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn was asked what he would do if he felt pressured to make a vaccine available before it’s ready to use, he said, “I can tell you our decision at FDA will not be made on any other criteria than the science and data associated with these clinical trials.”

Hahn insisted he has not felt pressured politically.

“I have not been pressured politically to make an incorrect decision,” Hahn said.

But he did acknowledge the pandemic itself brings its own kind of pressure.

“So we have felt, I mean, there’s been pressure throughout this pandemic…and I think anybody who doesn’t acknowledge that would be kidding themselves,” Hahn said.

Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says even if some vaccine doses are made available in the fall, widespread use is not expected until next year.

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