For years, activists have been pushing for government recognition of what’s known as environmental justice, the broad movement to provide restitution to communities that have suffered disproportionate harm. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate earlier this month fell short of their wishes, advocates say. But Congress gets another chance in the $3.5 trillion budget and spending plan lawmakers are now writing.

Michigan is experiencing a COVID-19 surge comparable to spring 2020 based on current trends, said Sarah Lyon-Callo, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Population Health. Although the number of vaccinated Michiganders is slowly growing, the increase in all COVID-19 metrics is growing much faster.

Top U.S. health officials announced a plan Wednesday to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to Americans starting Sept. 20, with the scheduling of the additional shot to be based on when a person was fully vaccinated. The new round of jabs will be extended to those who received the two-dose vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, and can be taken eight months after an individual’s second dose.

As Michigan lawmakers and environmentalists are working to mitigate the effects of recent natural disasters fueled by climate change across the state, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report last week highlighting that global warming is posing more of an immediate existential threat than previously thought. 

The COVID-19 patients filling Michigan’s hospitals are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. They hail from throughout the state, from the tip of the Upper Peninsula to the Ohio and Indiana borders; they live in city apartments and old farm houses on land dotted by cornstalks. They are younger than many of the COVID-19 patients in the past — parents with small children, recent graduates, people heading into their first-ever jobs. And, overwhelmingly, they are unvaccinated.