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Michigan's Chief Medical Executive reflects on three-year anniversary of COVID-19

Photo of a COVID-19 molecule
The COVID-19 outbreak reached Michigan in March 2020, triggering a wave of lockdowns and closures to limit the spread of the virus.

It’s been three years since Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency after the first detection of the COVID-19 virus in Michigan.

Now, medical providers say an annual COVID vaccine may become routine.

The COVID-19 outbreak reached Michigan in March of 2020, triggering a wave of lockdowns and closures to limit the spread of the virus.

Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said the pandemic shed a light on health disparities across the state, hitting some communities harder than others.

With vaccines and home testing kits widely available, Bagdasarian believes COVID will be treated in a similar manner as the flu.

“We are talking in the scientific community about going towards an annual COVID vaccine, and that’s most likely where things will head,” Bagdasarian said.

Bagdasarian added she’s disappointed that messages about wearing masks and getting vaccinated have become politicized.

“The pandemic has impacted us negatively, in some ways, in terms of our trust with communities,” she said. “And so, one of the things that I really want to do is rebuild those relationships and regain some of that public trust because we have to win those hearts and minds.”

To date, Michigan has recorded more than 42,000 deaths from confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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