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This Horrifying New App Will Let People Rate Fellow Humans Like Restaurants

This Horrifying New App Will Let People Rate Fellow Humans Like Restaurants

A one-star review can be devastating for a restaurant. What will it do to humans?

Society may have finally reached the pinnacle of its obsession with rating, reviewing, and ranking everything in sight — or so it would seem with the advent of a terrifying new app that is being called the “Yelp for people.”

If you couldn’t guess what the app will do, the basic idea is that, on Peeple, everyone you’ve ever interacted with will be able to rate you, and everything they like or don’t like about you.

“Peeple is an app that allows you to rate and comment about the people you interact with in your daily lives on the following three categories: personal, professional, and dating,” the app’s website explains. “Peeple will enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people.”

In case you were wondering, it’s not possible to opt out of being reviewed, and reviews that are negative or biased cannot be deleted — although you have 48 hours to change the reviewer’s mind about you before such a review goes live. In the company’s own words, “character is destiny.”

So far, the best thing to do seems to be avoiding the whole thing entirely — if you don’t sign up, only positive reviews of your character will show up on your profile.

If this doesn’t make you think twice about writing bad Yelp reviews for the wrong reasons — say, for instance, you had a bad day and the waitress didn’t make eye contact, or maintained eye contact for too long — just remember that now, that waitress can find you, and write about you.

Peeple is slated to launch in late November.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

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Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.


Michigan’s outbreak has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep pandemic rolling

When Kathryn Watkins goes shopping these days, she doesn’t bring her three young children. There are just too many people not wearing masks in her southern Michigan town of Hillsdale.

At some stores, “not even the employees are wearing them anymore,” said Watkins, who estimates about 30% of shoppers wear masks, down from around 70% earlier in the pandemic. “There’s a complete disregard for the very real fact that they could wind up infecting someone.”

Her state tops the nation by far in the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a sharp upward trajectory that has more than two dozen hospitals in the state nearing 90% capacity.

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Michigan’s outbreak could be an anomaly or a preview of what will happen in the nation as it emerges from the pandemic. Will pockets of COVID-19 denialism and vaccine resistance like that in Hillsdale — where the local college newspaper ran an opinion piece against the shots — serve as reservoirs for a wily virus, which will resurface to cause outbreaks in nearby cities and states?

“That’s a million-dollar question right now,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials. “Whatever is going on there could happen in other places, especially as things start to reopen.”

Some public health experts are alarmed.

“In more rural or conservative communities where COVID denialism and the behavior that comes with that is coupled with vaccine hesitancy, you’re less likely to get vaccinated and more likely to do things that spread the virus,” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and now a senior fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Multiple factors contributed to Michigan’s outbreak — El-Sayed calls it “a cauldron of bad dynamics.” But its magnitude is unparalleled, even as other states are also seeing increases, attributed in part to challenges like pandemic fatigue and political and economic pressure to fully reopen.

California’s latest seven-day new case rate — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 over that same time period.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are up 219% since March 9, weekly state data shows. Hospital admissions are increasing, affecting a growing number of young people. Positive test rates are at their highest levels since last April. Dozens of outbreaks, including clusters related to youth sports, K-12 schools and colleges, are ongoing.

If there is any good news, it’s that the proportion of deaths among those 60 and older is declining, which is attributed to a high vaccination rate among that age group.

Fueling the trajectory in Michigan, experts say, are a highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first identified in the United Kingdom public mobility returning to pre-pandemic levels and optimism about the vaccine rollout, leading people to drop their guard. The state, like some others, also loosened restrictions in March, allowing more people inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

Paradoxically, some experts say another factor may be the success that earlier stay-at-home orders from last year had, helping to suppress previous surges. Michigan’s spike may simply signal that the state is catching up to other regions.

“We locked things down and had fewer cases than neighboring states,” said Josh Petrie, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “More recently, since March, we see that steep increase again.”

But those emergency orders, while tamping things down, also fueled a backlash, including a plot by extremists to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor who ordered them.

Lawsuits brought by Republican lawmakers last year diluted her power to issue emergency orders. Nationally, dozens of mainly Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to limit the emergency powers of governors and public health officials.

In Michigan, the resistance stretches beyond the capital city of Lansing.

About 70 miles south in Hillsdale County, where Watkins lives, the sharp divisions are complicating the effort to fight the virus.

The semirural region, population 45,000, has seen 3,980 cases and 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Staunchly conservative, the county voted overwhelmingly for incumbent Donald Trump. Nationally, polls have shown that Republicans are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democrats or independents.