"I'll give them credit for coming up with the best trial balloon on this topic in recent months."
- Patrick Anderson, one of the leaders of the original term limits proposal in 1992, when asked about an idea floated by Ed Sarpolus and Bob LaBrant to get around legislative term limits by allowing lawmakers to run as a write-in candidate during the primary.
Are You More Likely To Get COVID-19 In A Plane Or A Restaurant?
An epidemiologist and 15-year Harvard School of Public Health faculty member questioned the wisdom of shutting down in-person dining as a way to control COVID-19 spread if the main reason is customers can't wear masks while eating.
Dr. Daniel Halperin told the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday "the evidence on masks is really cloudy." What seems to count more in reducing COVID-19 spread is ventilation and filtration system improvements as well as social distancing.
Halperin said if in-person dining were a dangerous situation, he would expect airline passengers, who spend several hours packed into planes virtually shoulder to shoulder, to show a higher rate of transmission.
In Michigan, airplane travel was not banned while in person dining was paused for nearly three months from November to Feb. 2 when the state saw its highest-ever COVID-19 case numbers.
Major Support for Biden's $1.9T Package
If Michigan legislators are watching the national debate on COVID-19 relief spending, there might be a message in the latest nationwide polling data on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion package. A vast majority of folks seem to want it.
The latest Quinnipiac University survey shows 68% favor it while 24% oppose the proposal. With that much public support you can understand why perhaps the Biden administration may be willing to go it alone without any bi-partisan votes.
Democrats support it 97% to 3% while Republicans oppose it 47% to 37% with the rest not responding.
The Jan. 28-Feb. 1 survey of 1,075 U.S. voters has a margin of error of +/- 3%.
State Projecting July-August Vaccination Start For 'Everyone Else' Category
If you're not a senior, a frontline essential worker or someone with a health issue, you may not get a COVID vaccine until July or August at the earliest, according to the state's interim timeline for its vaccination campaign.
However, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said the calendar is an interim one, and it's based on how many vaccines the state is receiving, which could change. She noted Johnson & Johnson recently asked for emergency approval for its vaccine, which could lead to another available vaccine.
For Phase 2 people – which is everyone from 16 to 64 years that aren't covered in previous categories – the chart showing the state's interim calendar has a lightly shaded bar beginning in July and August and getting darker as it approaches December.
Whitmer Waiting For 'Full' COVID-19 Plan From Lawmakers
The House passed a $3.5 billion COVID response plan made up of mostly federal dollars, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is looking for a "full plan" that uses the rest of the $2.5 billion the federal government has set aside to Michigan for the recovery.
Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy said the governor's office can't speculate what a final relief package would look like, but if the House continues to hold back the federal money, "it could have real consequences."
"Fewer schools open safely. Fewer people of color getting vaccinated. More people being evicted or losing food assistance, which would mean a slower return to normal," Leddy said.
Outside of the additional federal funding Whitmer says is being left on the table, the House Republicans are putting $363 million of state money on the table for districts that go entirely to in-person instruction by Feb. 15.
MI At 5th Lowest COVID-19 Daily Case Rate; 10th In Vaccines Used
Michigan is now among the states with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases as measured by the seven-day daily case average on a per capita basis, according to The New York Times.
If territories like the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico aren’t counted, Michigan ranks as the fifth-lowest state in recent COVID-19 cases, with a daily average of 18 cases per day over the past week, per 100,000 people.
The states with lower daily averages per capita are Hawaii (7), North Dakota (15), Oregon (16), and Minnesota (17).
On the vaccination front, The Times has Michigan at tenth in the percentage of doses used, at 74%. The highest usage rate belongs to North Dakota at 92%.
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