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Michigan health officials answer your COVID questions

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 10:00 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:10 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the current wave of COVID cases could peak before the end of January.

Needless to say, it has left a lot of people with various questions about how coronavirus works and what health experts are doing to do to mitigate the spread.

If there’s one word that could be used to wrap up the last two years, it’s confusing. With COVID mutating and medical experts coming up with new ways to combat the virus, the protocols are constantly changing.

Related: MDHHS updates COVID vaccine guidelines after review of CDC changes

“It’s been a communications nightmare for us,” said Ingham County health officer Linda Vail. “I can’t imagine what the public is going through.”

Vail acknowledged the difficulty in understanding what has been going on with the ever-changing information for the pandemic. She and Dr. Farhan Bhatti agreed to spend a few minutes to answer question submitted by News 10 viewers.

“I tested positive in November with zero symptoms. I’m fully vaccinated and have had antibody shots as well. Two months later, I have extreme fatigue and horrible headaches -- is it possible that I have it again?”

“If the headaches have lingered since the time that she tested positive, that’s actually very common,” said Bhatti. “That’s something called long COVID.”

Bhatti explained many symptoms -- like headaches, shortness of breath and even confusion can be lasting effects from the initial illness, but that’s not always the case.

“Depending on which variant she got the first time around, it’s definitely possible for her to get sick with a different variant two months later,” Bhatti said.

“Will we see mandatory shutdowns again in order to flatten the curve?”

“I don’t think so. We have the vaccine. People who are vaccinated are protected. They may get infected, but they don’t seriously get ill and die,” Vail said. “We also have treatments now that we didn’t have before. They know a lot more about treating COVID at this point in time. People need to make wise choices themselves.”

“How many boosters/vaccine doses will people need to fully protect themselves?”

“Nobody knows the answer to that question, but my best guess is it’s going to be like the flu shot where we have to get it at regular intervals,” Bhatti said. “It’s not the case that you get a shot one time in your life and those antibodies last forever, so we’re going to have to keep getting vaccines at regular intervals to continue to boost our antibody levels, because those antibodies are what give you immunity protection.”

Bhatti and Vail are encouraging Michiganders to keep an open dialogue with their doctors to inquire about any information they feel is missing.

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