Few coronavirus cases, lots of land. Should northern Michigan reopen?

Northern Michigan has less than 2 percent of the state's total coronavirus cases, prompting calls from some officials to reopen that part of the state.

Draw a line across Michigan from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan, just above Bay City, and you may begin to understand Judi Schwalbach’s frustration.

The area north of that line includes 41 of Michigan’s 83 counties, more than half of the state’s land mass, but just 9.2 percent of the state’s population and less than 2 percent of the COVID-19 cases and deaths.

As of Sunday, the area had 635 of the state's 43,000 cases and 51 of more than 4,000 deaths.

Schwalbach and thousands of others who live in northern Michigan are following social-distancing rules, but see few cases of the virus, leading to anger that prompted some to descend on Lansing, most recently Thursday, to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s economic restrictions during the pandemic.


Schwalbach, a former mayor of Escanaba in the central Upper Peninsula, said northern Michigan residents fear the virus and are taking common-sense distancing measures but are “resentful of a governor that’s not allowing us to be the adults we can be.” 

“People are finding ways to be safe and smart, and be respectful of a virus that can be anywhere,” said Schwalbach, who works for state Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan.


As Michigan starts its seventh week under a stay-home order, Whitmer is beginning to loosen business activity in the state. She recently allowed landscapers to return to work and golf courses to open. On Friday, she issued an executive order permitting the construction and real estate industries to reopen May 7, with restrictions. 

The governor said the state’s gradual reopening for business will be based on health data and medical advice, the nature of industries and, in part, geography. 

Whitmer’s team cautions that, although northern Michigan has fewer confirmed cases of the coronavirus, it also has far fewer hospital beds should a surge strike.  

“We understand Michiganders are frustrated and they want to get back to work,” Bobby Leddy, a Whitmer spokesperson, told Bridge. “But we want to keep everyone safe.”

Speaking Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said that infections are gaining steam outside southeast Michigan, even as the overall caseload statewide has plateaued.

"If we don't do well with these social distancing measures, more people will die and that is just the facts," she said.

Whitmer has divided the state into regions and said she will make decisions on what to reopen and when based on COVID-19 case counts, the capacity of each region’s hospitals and the state’s ability to track infected people.

Bridge analyzed a host of data in each region, from testing and unemployment to intensive care beds. With more than 1 million residents out of work because of the virus, unemployment rates actually are among lowest in the Upper Peninsula, which is the least affected by the coronavirus.


Whitmer last week extended the closure of restaurants and her state of emergency to May 28. 

If businesses are able to open by then, the tourism-dependent Upper Peninsula would be able to have “some sort of summer,” said Connie Litzner, mayor of St. Ignace in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

“I wouldn’t want it to go any longer,” she said, adding that she agrees with Whitmer’s gradual approach and believes plans to loosen restrictions should account for differences between downstate and northern Michigan.

“We still have to be very cautious, but we also have to get back to work,” said Litzner. 

Even when businesses reopen, they likely have numerous restrictions, including far less seating at restaurants and mandatory masks, distancing and other measures at businesses. 

Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, said Whitmer needs to be more open about what benchmarks Michigan needs to meet before businesses can reopen to give them time to prepare.

“Manufacturing is ready to go now, and can do it safely,” said Horn, who helped author a plan by Senate Republicans to relaunch Michigan’s economy in five phases depending on a host of factors, including regional differences.

“But there’s a frustration on the lack of clarity [from Whitmer] and how these decisions are made? What is the matrix?”

Read more: Opinion | Guns and screaming at Michigan Capitol drown out message of protest

Whitmer has carved up the state into regions to prioritize reopening in ways that sometimes don’t make sense, Horn said. 

Lapeer County is 60 miles north of Detroit and has fewer than 200 cases, but because it’s in the same region, its businesses will be treated the same as those in Detroit and Wayne County, which have more than 17,000 cases.


As of this weekend, only one coronavirus patient was hospitalized in the Upper Peninsula, but the entire region only has 700 acute care beds compared to 14,000 in southeast Michigan, according to state records.

Joshua Petrie, a research investigator in the epidemiology department at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, said the cases-to-capacity ratio in the Upper Peninsula makes it among the state’s best candidates for “a hard look” at gradually loosening restrictions. He cautioned that “you’d have to be really careful” not to open too much too soon.

Litzner, the St. Ignace mayor, said she’s comfortable with the UP’s hospital bed and ventilator capacity, since systems in other parts of the state have shared resources. When a Mackinac Island resident recently fell ill with COVID-19, Petoskey’s McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital took them in, she said. 

“With everybody pitching in, I think we’ll be fine,” she said.


But talk of reopening too quickly causes anxiety for northern Michigan public health officials, said Erin Johnson, disease control and prevention program supervisor with the Grand Traverse County Health Department. 

For now, Johnson said, the department is able to manage its COVID-19 caseload but that’s partly because Whitmer’s stay-at-home order has limited the virus’ ability to spread. 

As restrictions loosen and more people begin mingling in public, the chances of a new outbreak increase, Johnson said.

“I would urge people to be very cautious in their approach to heaving back out into their normal lives and pushing for everything to open up so quickly,” Johnson said. “It really needs to be, as the governor said, a very cautious approach.”


Speaking Sunday on CNN, Whitmer said Michigan should be testing 1 percent to 2 percent of its population each week, and “we are far short of that,” partly because of trouble accessing the supplies needed to conduct tests.

Though testing has risen dramatically in the past week, the state is still testing less than 1 percent of its population weekly, through Saturday. Southeast Michigan came closest with nearly 29,000 tests but it was still just 0.6 percent of the region’s 4.6 million people. 

Petrie, the U-M epidemiologist, cautioned that rural health systems have far less capacity than urban counterparts to conduct robust training and contact testing. With fewer public health professionals available to keep tabs on a much larger geographical area, new cases may go undetected for longer, enabling the virus to spread in the interim. 

“You don’t want to get to the point where you’re only figuring out you have a problem because people are dying,” Petrie said. 

Below is a closer look at how the virus is progressing in different parts of the state.


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Dave N.
Sun, 05/03/2020 - 8:11pm

How about we look at mortalities by age, morbidities and location (nursing home, assisted living, etc.). This would reinforce what we already know, that this virus is mainly lethal to the elderly. Gubmint can then focus its efforts on selectively protecting the vulnerable, regardless of location and dispense with chicken@#!% graphs that a college intern might cook up to justify the current approach. Empty headed thinking using questionable metrics to make policy. What could go wrong?
Of course, maybe the plan is to destroy the private sector for political purposes. Seems gubmint folks and others on the dole are okay with that. As always, Orange Man Bad.

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 9:13pm

That's what Florida is doing. And another thing, cases are going to jump as more testing comes online. Cumulative cases alone don't provide much insight.

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 9:11am

People are frustrated, especially those in seemingly "remote" areas that aren't so worried, but Covid 19 because they see few or no cases, but it is still with us. People in remote areas might feel they're immune or not susceptible because they are rarely in contact with many people, but you have to understand we've only blunted the curve. It only takes one person to spread it. A fever may not always be a symptom.

You might say you aren't worried, it's all lies, it's safer than seasonal flu, it doesn't affect children, you don't need or want the government to protect you, more people are dying from the cure, etc. We can argue about whether all those thing are true as well as ideology, the economy, healthcare, solutions, etc. but that's not my point.

I say just look at this from a logistical perspective. Consider where your nearest hospital may be and how many patients it may accommodate, its available equipment and PPE. Now consider how you would deal with going to that hospital for yourself or a family member when you have to go there alone. Who will take you there? How much will an ambulance cost? What will you or your family do without that vehicle during the hospital stay? How will you manage if it's an extended time and you are alone, or charged with caring for others. Consider if the capacity is reached, where your second and third hospital options may be. Consider what you might have to do if more than one person in your family has to go to the hospital and you have to be in separate locations very far apart. Consider your broadband capabilities during all this. Consider the possible underlying health conditions of everyone involved, not just concerning Covid 19, but whether you are caring for someone elderly, someone with dementia or special needs,

Consider all those things now, while people have been blunting the curve. Now think about how things might be when people stop thinking about blunting the curve. Lastly think how very soon masses of tourists might be visiting your local communities on vacation and inflating your local population possibly carrying the virus from other parts of the state and country. All those factors will contribute to the burdens on your local healthcare providers' ability to care for you the locals.

All the other controversial stuff aside, just think about logistics. We all need to stay prepared. We can't just pray or wish this virus away. It is real and serious. We can't predict the future based on all the social distancing we have been doing now. Even with all those efforts, over 4,000 people have died from Covid 19 in Michigan. You can blame the governor, if you want. Almost 70,000 people have died from Covid19 in the US. You can blame the president or China or even our governor, if you want, but those games don't fix the logistical problems of the virus and the reality of the deaths, especially as we reduce restrictions. People in Michigan are already refusing to wear masks at shops that require them. One customer intentionally wiped his nose on an employee, another shot and killed a store security guard. These people are making it very difficult to reopen our economy.

Without these logistical considerations and serious precautions, we will have continuous spikes of second, third, and fourth waves, along with economic setbacks. It's not just about urban, suburban, and rural hotspots, especially in Michigan a state with a huge economy dependent on statewide tourism.

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:40pm

The virus isn't going away. We can't simply stay inside and isolate and hope it disappears. It'll be back. We were trying to "flatten the curve" to prevent overload of the healthcare system. We never were in a containment strategy- we have community spread everywhere. It's just mitigation of the damage. In many places, the greater damage is coming from the draconian shut-down orders.

It's now well past time to open things as much as possible. Stop treating vast swaths of Michigan as urban SE Michigan. It's not the same. Start following the science and stop the political posturing. It's time to be smart, not simply reactive.

Rick Raisen
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 1:19am

Dave, you suggest that the government (the State of Michigan) focus on protecting vulnerable populations, like those in nursing homes. That's a great idea. Bridge has already run a series of articles that demonstrates that the State is doing a really bad job protecting these people. The Governor devotes her time and energy towards scolding those who protest her illegal power grab, and promoting herself on national outlets. Almost all of her energy- executive orders, speeches, tours, oversight of agencies, regulations, etc- should be directed at vulnerable populations. But very little is.

At the end of this, there is going to be a lot of people dead, and she's going to blame everyone else, and people are going to talk about what she did. But it's what she isn't doing that is leading to people dying, and it is what she is doing (delaying cancer screenings, banning preventive medicine, closing businesses so people lose jobs and suicide rates skyrocket, etc) that is leading to people dying. This isn't a partisan issue- this is a poor job that is leading to people dying issue.

Had enough
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 9:12am

Rick, you nailed it

middle of the mit
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:13am

Are you saying that the State should regulate PRIVATE BUSINESS better and more stringently than they do now?

Because PRIVATE BUSINESS IS FAILING to protect it's customers?


Rick Raisen
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 12:39am

The State already regulates and inspects nursing homes, senior citizen homes, and the like. They're just doing an awful job of it. Government shouldn't do more- it should do what it is already doing better, especially during this time period. That's where the emphasis and attention should be going. This sounds reasonable. Making healthy children stay home under house arrest and be forced to wear a mask if they leave the house under penalty of arrest- that's unreasonable.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 9:15am

The frustrating thing isn't that the intern is collecting the data and generating the charts, it is that they aren't being directed to collect similar data and charts for the others risks, such as the person depressions. Can those in Lansing see beyond those who have caught the virus?
If they don't gather the data on other risks associate with the shutdown of the economy then how can they make smart decisions for the whole of the economy/State.
We need to see similar charts for the shutdown of the economy, jobs, incomes, socialization, so even the Governor and her advisors can see if there is harmful impact on beyond the people infected with the virus. How many of the restaurants, entertainment businesses, hospitals, salons, will go out of business? Either Lansing needs to be including this in the risk analysis and decision making on the shutdown or the state will have to support, with the safety net, thousands more for years and years and Michigan may not recover in our life time.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:27am

OK, remove all restrictions in northern Michigan. As a resident in this area, I have just one simple request. If you're going to do this, shut down I-75 and US-131 at MI-20.

In case you hadn't noticed, this deadly virus travels well.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 10:15am

Exactly. Michigan needs to be treated as one community. Keep the rules consistent across the state.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 10:50am

Exactly. We have a low caseload in Region 7. We'd like to keep it that way. There has already been a significant influx of non-residents to the area, trying to escape their home hot zones. Not that I blame them, but....

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 10:50am

Exactly. We have a low caseload in Region 7. We'd like to keep it that way. There has already been a significant influx of non-residents to the area, trying to escape their home hot zones. Not that I blame them, but....

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:27pm

I also live in northern Michigan in a very popular summer resort area. Many of the individuals who vacation here are from Michigan areas hit hard by Covid-19. If restrictions are removed too soon what do some of those advocating easing up think will happen in these popular vacation areas?

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 8:26am

If we knew 7 weeks ago, what we know now about the Virus and Demographics, the US shouldn't have been shut down. We are hurting more people and generations of people by being Economically Shut Down.

Safe Practices of Common Sense.....wash hands, don't touch your mouth, face or eyes, clean surfaces regularly, stay home when sick ...all eliminates the vast majority of all Infections and reduces the Risk to virtually zero. And yes, NO Need to wear masks.

If you are under age 80 and in average active health, the Risk of you dying from Coronavirus is very low. If you are a child, the risk of you dying from Coronavirus is statistically zero.

Open Michigan. Open the US.

middle of the mit
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:17am

If people were able to self regulate, that would be possible.

But what we are seeing across the nation as things open, WE as a people aren't willing to self regulate. Can WE admit that?

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 8:55am

These graphs are much more helpful than the totals on the "dashboard". Cumulative cases is a pretty useless metric for an epidemic - large counts in the past skew the numbers badly. But some combination of these and the NYTimes heat graphs are what we need (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/michigan-coronavirus-cases.h...) This outbreak is slowing down a lot in SE Michigan, but is rising in places between SE Michigan and people's cottages up north. That regional breakdown tells you a little, but the county-by-county listing shows what's actually going on.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 8:56am

This is very simple, ignore Governor Tyrant. Her “orders” are contrary to the United States Constitution and that is why the police are not making arrests for violations of her “orders”.

Originally this was about “flattening the curve”, mission accomplished. The Governor is so power drunk she keeps moving the bar so she can continue to hurt the people of Michigan. Now she wants more testing, a vaccine, who knows what her next demand will be! This is a classic case of the cure is worse than the disease.

Ignore her people, time to get back work! If you are scared or vulnerable then stay home but do not ask me to join you in the economic suicide pact.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 9:19am

86% of the deaths are from 15% of the population (age group 60+). The majority of the remaining 14% of deaths are from individuals with underlying medical issues. We can protect the "at risk" people while allowing the younger and healthier citizens return to their "new-normal" lives. Whitmer's one-size-fits-all plan just doesn't make sense to me. We need a better plan based on data.

Patricia Power
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 10:57am

You state that southeast Michigan has been hit the hardest by unemployment. Please relook at your numbers. Northern Michigan is 2 percentage points greater, totaling nearly 25% of the workforce.

A Yooper
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:23am

While I hate to bust everyone’s bubble, Judi Schwalbach is not the spokesperson for the U.P. Nor is Ed McBroom. Schwalbach’s approach is absurd and as usual with this group, based on dollars and cents, not lives. To state the U.P. has enough hospital beds is ludicrous. Contrary to Republican opinion, the virus is tasteless, odorless, tasteless, it can’t be seen nor felt. Hence, nobody knows where it is going next. One thing we know for sure, it’s not finished. It is mutating and those who have tested positive and recovered, are not immune. The Island Resort and Casino just west of Escanaba is opening now for gambling and their hotel will be opening shortly. Research, and I know you Republicans all deny science and medical research, etc., but we have learned that smokers lungs, already compromised by smoking, will struggle to receive oxygen provided through respirators, hence a higher risk of death.
Stanton A. Glantz, is an American professor, author, and leading tobacco control activist. He is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, the American Legacy Foundation, Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control, and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. His research focuses on the health effects of tobacco smoking. He reports “when people infected with respiratory viruses’ exhale, they exhale the virus. Thus, viruses are expelled in the smoke and when smokers congregate it is a virtual infectious gathering.” We already know the elderly were at risk. And the times I have visited the Casino it’s obvious the majority of persons gaming are seniors. Plus, the majority of patrons are smoking. And a Casino spokesperson stated last week that masks at the Casino are optional to patrons so the Casino itself will be a huge petri dish from now on. Furthermore, the Green Bay Press Gazette reports that Green Bay is the new “hotspot” for the virus. And we know how often people from the U.P. travel to Green Bay and Appleton to shop at the Fox Valley Mall’s 100+ stores. We better not count your chickens before they hatch Ms. Schwalbach, especially when the Bay Bus LLC buses start to transport gamblers from as far away as Green Bay start arriving for day and overnight gambling packages.
So, Ms. Schwalbach you’re “frustrated.” Gee whiz I would imagine those four thousand plus Michiganders including doctors, nurses, and ambulance personnel who have died were frustrated too as were/are their families. Suck it up lady. Be a big girl now, eh? And you tell the Bridge readers that “northern Michigan residents fear the virus and are taking common-sense distancing measures but are resentful of a governor that’s not allowing us to be the adults we can be. People are finding ways to be safe and smart and be respectful of a virus that can be anywhere.’” There is little social distancing and mask wearers when we shop at Meier’s, Aldi’s and Elmer’s markets in Escanaba. Your statement is horse pucky. Were Rick Snyder still Governor you and Mr. McBroom would be on your hands and knees praising him for his performance. Sadly, you and your supporters are making this issue a political one. It is a global humanity issue unless you agree with GOP’s Texas’ Lieutenant Governor’s statement “older people — who are much more vulnerable to the virus — should “sacrifice” for the country’s economy.” You’re in your late ‘60’s maybe you should be a greeter for the Casino? Would you don a mask? My guess is no as the GOP’s sponsored gun toting protesters at our State Capitol claim masks are for Democrats and bare face is for Republicans. Good luck with that one. It ain't over till it's over, and lady it ain't over. I’ll defer to medical facts not conjecture.

old hippie
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 3:08pm

You nailed it Yooper!

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 10:30pm

Maybe you hit on another approach to the virus. I wonder what the casino uses to treat the smoke, maybe it is ozone generators. What if the ozone works like uv light and kills the virus. Why not use the UP casinos as test sites for another approach to attacking the Covid 19? All the casinos would need do is test the patrons when they arrive and invite them back in 2 weeks and test them again, though those patrons would have to practice well disciplined cocooning at home to ensure the results were only for the casinos. The casinos could be an effective controlled environment for testing other methods of social distancing, personal protective practices, equipment and such. I suspect that many patrons would volunteers to be part of such virus control testing.
The casinos could monitor their facilities for air borne virus as an additional assessment of the air conditioning methods impact on the virus.
I think you have the basis for a science based testing of a new approach to battling the virus. Too bad the Governor hasn't been asking the UP for ideas.

A Yooper
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 9:07am

Very interesting concept.

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 8:58am

Which idea is interesting, Governor Whitmer asking the people of the UP for ideas on the virus and how to manage their safety, or using selected casinos as a control sites for evaluating different methods for attacking the virus and protecting larger number of people?
I am also interested in the thoughts each idea triggered for you.

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:48pm

It’s interesting that the State Senate Republican plan Senator Horn refers to allows for regional differences to keep the Coronavirus threat at bay. However, when the threat was plastic bags, the senate passed legislation (SB 853 of 2016) that prohibited local units of government from banning them – plastic bags! To be clear though, Mr. Horn was one of three Republican senators to vote against the bill.
Seems Mr. Horn has an issue with how the governor split the state into regions. [Split is less provocative than carve and it doesn’t make you think it was done haphazardly.] Reminds me of State Proposal 18-2, wherein 61% of the voters wanted an independent commission to split the state. Perhaps he can start the process to change the constitution.
Lastly, I do support his desire for Governor Whitmer to publish benchmarks that might better inform the state. Of course, I’ve been hoping for those kinds of things to come out of the Michigan Legislature for years and I’m still waiting.
Thanks for the graphics.

Pat Nelson
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 1:41pm

Republican legislators say they want to work with the governor on this. How about some expression of concern about the health of their constituents, as well as concerns about the economy.

Given our vulnerabilities, my husband and I are both likely to die, if exposed to Covid19. We are taking all the precautions we can, but we are dependent upon suppliers of necessities not passing this on to us. In SW Michigan, infection rates are still growing -- we are not at the steady 14 day decline which the White House recommended before reopening businesses.

Tree Cutter
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 6:44pm

Pat, if we could test everyone in the state every day, we’d find the virus is spreading no matter what we do. Once it arrived on our shores from China, we really couldn’t stop it. The whole “flatten the curve” thing had everything to do with trying to prevent hospitals being overloaded, not stopping the virus and minimizing infections.

I’m also in a risk group, but I like having power to my house, food to eat, etc. Just because we are in a risk group doesn’t mean we shut down everything. We have to change our routines, not everyone who is not in a high risk group. I’m guessing you like having electric power, food and maybe even a haircut. We need people working to do those things. I have a lot of years dealing with charts and measurement techniques. Just because a supposed expert says something and points to a chart doesn’t mean it’s the word of God, written on tablets. Use your own good judgement. Experts are wrong all the time, starting with WHO and the CDC.

middle of the mit
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:44am

I don't know if anyone has been paying attention to the map that Bridge reposts continuously, but those blue areas that used to be up here aren't so blue anymore. In fact, we have yellow and it is creeping with the economy shut down.

What do you think it will look like when we open up?

Will you come visit us when WE ARE THE COVID HOT SPOT?

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 6:53am

The governor is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. Maybe the UP has few cases BECAUSE of the no travel ban. Where do most of the property owners come from? Most likely the SE part of the state. I liked the idea of closing the highways leading into the north.
Some folks just don't get it. You must not know ant nurses or docs working the front lines. You also need to read up on some history of pandemics, like the Spanish flu. People wanting to "just have fun", didn't make it, along with their families. And folks are way more mobile now. As they say, patience is a virtue.

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 9:38am

You sound like the Governor when she simply proclaimed the 'lockdown' without any planning, without any consideration for the whole of the state and the uniqueness of communities [nature of work, lifestyles, culture].

You seem to fail to consider the science such as how the outside environment has a better success of killing the virus than a stagnate indoors. I suspect that people of the UP more time doing outside activities than those in southwest Detroit. There would seem to be a population density difference, there could even be a socializing culture difference, etc. All of that suggests that with a bit of planning that different communities would be able to manage the virus risks effectively with different means/methods.
As for you using the Spanish Flu as a model for society today and how to respond to Covid 19 fails to take into consideration such things as simple as the difference in what 'people do when they "just have fun".

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 10:23am

It likely won't happen that way... open areas of the state. Detroit is the problem area and that is the concentration of her base. She will not free the rest of us while keeping her base locked down.

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:15pm

One should exercise caution when changing scales on graphs. The new cases by region is good, informative data but the curve trend is misleading when the scale changes. I would like to see all of the regions plotted on one graph wit the same scale.

A Yooper
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 2:49pm

Isn't it interesting that Ms. Schwalbach has failed to respond?
Typical smoke and mirrors from fast Eddie McBroom's office.
I guess she has as much substance as a one sided pancake.

Data Soong
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 5:28pm

One can only hope that northern Michigan and other counties open. The costs on unemployment are real and deadly. According to a 2014 piece in Harvard Public Health magazine, unemployment due to business closures increased by 83 percent the odds of new health conditions triggered by the job loss—stress-related conditions such as stroke, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and emotional and psychiatric problems. A 2011 meta-analysis of international research—published in Social Science & Medicine by David Roelfs, Eran Shor, Karina Davidson, and Joseph Schwartz—found that the risk of death was 63 percent higher during the study periods among those who experienced unemployment than among those who did not, after adjusting for age and other variables. A 2009 study on the impact of the 1980s oil crisis and subsequent recession in Pennsylvania, published by economists Daniel Sullivan and Till von Wachter in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that in the year after men lost their jobs in mass layoffs, their chances of dying doubled. In a 2003 study on unemployment in the Journal of Health Economics, the authors concluded that unemployment increases the risk of being dead from 5.36 to 7.83 (an increased risk of 46% of dying). In a 2017 study, the researchers find that a one percentage point increase in the county unemployment rate is associated with an additional 0.2 opioid-involved drug-related deaths per 100,000 residents and a 3.6 percent increase relative to the average rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000- so a 36% unemployment of a state of 10 million will result in an additional 5400 people dying.

But I suppose all of those people who will surely die from the Governor's orders don't matter as much as the few that might hypothetically be somehow saved.

Cindy Walker
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 4:40pm

What does Whitless think she is going to arrest all of us in Northern Michigan?