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Students walk through the hallway at a high school during the first day of classes in Novi, Michigan, on Tuesday, Sept. 7 2021. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Michigan announced a new advisory on Friday, saying that all residents 2 years or older should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status.

Why it matters: The advisory comes as Michigan faces its highest surge of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

  • The state hit its highest seven-day case rate in 2021 at 589.3 cases, the Detroit Free Press reports, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: The statewide face mask advisory, which began Friday, will remain in effect until further notice.

  • Michigan also recommended that establishments should implement a policy to require patrons and employees to wear a face mask.

What they're saying: "The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned," Elizabeth Hertel, director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

  • "COVID-19 cases are high as we head into the holidays, and we must take every measure we can to keep our families and loved ones safe - which starts with getting vaccinated," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan's chief medical executive, added in a statement.

Go deeper

Omicron variant detected in more countries

The Galeao International airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazi. Photo: Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and South Korea on Wednesday became the latest countries to report cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. They followed similar announcements made in Brazil and Japan on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The arrival of the "variant of concern" in more countries underscores the difficulties governments are facing as they seek to reopen economies stalled by nearly two years of pandemic restrictions in the era of global air travel.

Nov 30, 2021 - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pa. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An FDA advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the U.S.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov. 25. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to an analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).