Football protesters show up at Capitol in Lansing as state surpasses 100K virus cases
LANSING (AP) — Michigan on Friday crossed the threshold of 100,000 cases of the coronavirus confirmed since March.
Deaths related to COVID-19 reached 6,446 after six more were recorded, the state health department said.
Most people usually recover from the virus. It can cause mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia and lead to death.
Dr. Dennis Cunningham at McLaren Health Care said the number of people who were infected is likely higher than the confirmed cases of 100,699. He noted that enough tests weren’t available in the early weeks of the outbreak.
“We just haven’t had enough testing supplies to test every asymptomatic person, either,” Cunningham added.
Meanwhile, the state Education Department said 86% of public school districts are offering in-person instruction for the new year, even if it’s just two to three days per week. Researchers from Michigan State University reviewed plans submitted by districts.
“With masks and other careful mitigation strategies, many children will have the opportunity to learn in person at the beginning of this school year,” said Michael Rice, state superintendent.
At the state Capitol, hundreds of teenagers, parents and coaches chanted “let them play!” as they protested the delay or postponement of high school sports, especially football. Players wore jerseys as they listened to speakers.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association on Aug. 14 pushed football to spring, noting that there were “too many unknowns” to play safely in fall. Some parts of the state can compete in soccer, volleyball and swimming but not all.
Mark Gleason attended the rally with his son, a senior linebacker at Rockford High School. He said the MHSAA moving football to spring causes conflicts with other sports and hurts college recruiting.
“There’s an inherent risk in playing sports,” Gleason told WXMI-TV. “I would sign a waiver and let my son play. It’s just devastating. It’s like a brotherhood with the players.”
In Detroit, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti pleaded with the MHSAA to change its football decision. More than 1,000 students in the district play the sport.
“For many of our student-athletes, it is the reason to wake up in the morning and go to school, maintain better grades, and stay out of trouble,” Vitti said in a letter Friday. “Depression is setting in for too many of our athletes. They are suffering from the loss of structured activities.”