Despite brutal day, signs of hope in Michigan’s coronavirus curve

Coronavirus cases may be leveling in Detroit, and despite a sharp uptick in overall cases statewide Tuesday, there are signs Michigan may avoid the skyrocketing caseloads of Italy and New York.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan expressed optimism for the first time in days Tuesday when the number of new cases in the city fell for the second consecutive day. Detroit is a national hotspot for the virus, with more than 5,500 cases and at least 222 deaths.

“This is the first glimmer of light we have seen in the data since this pandemic started,” Duggan said. 

“The storm is not over. But for the first time, we can see we can beat this. And we can beat it in weeks, not months.”

 

Even so, state data indicate the virus is gaining strength in less-populated areas outside of southeast Michigan, including Genesee County where cases hit 638 and deaths 32, and in St. Clair, Clinton and Hillsdale counties.

Statewide, confirmed cases rose nearly 1,750 to 18,970 on Tuesday, while the 118 reported deaths were the most in a single day of the pandemic for Michigan. Overall, 845 have died statewide.

Metro Detroit accounts for 80 percent of Michigan’s cases and deaths, and if cases plateau, the state could hit its peak later this week, matching a model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

State officials, as well as the Trump administration, have used this model to estimate trends.

 

That model based its predictions on Michigan’s demography, actual deaths and steps to slow the spread of the virus, including stay-at-home order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on March 24.

Even if the state hits its peak on April 10, however, the University of Washington model estimates Michigan deaths could hit 3,000 before the end of May.

We are still in the early upslope of what is going to hit Michigan incredibly hard,” Whitmer said. “This novel virus has no cure and it has no vaccine. it is aggressively passed from person to person and no one knows how their body is going to react to it.”

The virus has hit other places even harder, including New York and Italy and it continues to ravage parts of Europe and grow across the globe.

 

Compared to the growth rates of New York, Italy and France, Michigan is trending well below New York but between Italy (17,127 deaths) and France (10,328). 

That’s not to say Michigan deaths will approach either nation, both which have six times as many residents.

Like Michigan, much of Europe is on “stay-at-home” orders and Duggan attributes those efforts to “bending the curve.” 

“We are at a time where I think we may be bending the curve, but, we are at a very dangerous time if we don’t stick with what we are doing,” Duggan said.

He warned against complacency and worried that warmer weather could halt progress and cases could multiply.

“We have some really bad days ahead of us. We are going to lose a lot of our neighbors in the coming days,” Duggan said. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

RESOURCES:

Michigan Health Watch is made possible by generous financial support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Michigan Association of Health Plans, and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. The monthly mental health special report is made possible by generous financial support of the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation. Please visit the Michigan Health Watch 'About' page for more information.

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Comments

Larry Good
Tue, 04/07/2020 - 7:53pm

Detroit data is encouraging news. Another way to understand statewide growth is slowing is to calculate percentage growth in cases and deaths. Both are slowing. This week case growth is averaging a little over 9 percent daily; a week ago it was twice that; two weeks ago it was triple that. And death rate is running consistently lower than the model you cite has forecasted. We appear to be peaking in SE MI; if we can keep spread outstate down, the statewide numbers should start to fall soon. Stay at home appears to be working.

All should help
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 1:53am

You are right about everything except for the idea about "downstate spreading". Keep in mind that there are cases in most of the state already. People in northern Michigan could be are going around asymptomatically and untested thinking they are immune, just because cases have gone down elsewhere. Some people still wrongly think this is "typical seasonal flu" and not the highly contagious strand that this virus is. I'll credit that misinformation directly to the president who worsened the spread before lessening it. If the people in northern Michigan don't take this seriously, they will spread it among themselves regardless as to where it might be more prevalent now. People downstate might even have developed immunity. Lastly, to their wonder credit, some northern Michigan healthcare workers have even come to southeast Michigan to bravely help treat patients. Please don't treat these dedicated war heroes like lepers.

Bob Hope
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 1:38pm

This is indeed good news! The curve will be flattened soon and we can finally end this devastating economic shutdown!

Charles Buck
Tue, 04/07/2020 - 10:26pm

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 doesn't mean much without knowing the number of overall tests performed. The leveling off for Detroit could merely be a result of maxing out testing capacity or a decline in the number of healthcare workers able to take samples because they are falling ill. Detroit doesn't publicize the number of tests performed daily.

Paul
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 9:51am

Charles,

It is much worse than that. Sampled numbers are only relevant for a population if you are taking a random and sufficiently large number of samples to actually represent that population. That is NOT the case with the coronavirus numbers. I know numerous people who were exposed to a sick coworker, nearly all of them experienced symptoms, but only a single one of them was actually tested, and only because she has COPD. None of the other coworkers were tested and were simply told to quarantine themselves.

None of the numbers being published anywhere are statistically relevant for the US population. These numbers should NOT be used to make decisions, yet that is exactly what everyone is doing. This is why my family has totally disregarded the executive "order" and will continue to operate our small business no matter what dictator whitmer says. We've all taken at least basic college level statistics classes and this entire situation just disgusts us. We are destroying the lives of the 98% to try and preserve the lives of the dying 2% who will be dead from the flu in a season or so anyway.

Matt
Thu, 04/09/2020 - 6:21am

"We are destroying the lives of the 98% to try and preserve the lives of the dying 2% who will be dead from the flu in a season or so anyway." Wow what a sickeningly false comment. Let us hope for ironic justice in your case.

Charles B
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 3:49pm

Actually those numbers are optomistic for coronavirus, right now it looks more like 99.8% and 0.2%. I don't know what kind of ironic justice you would be speaking of other than a small business being destroyed by a pointless stay at home order to protect from a virus that had already spread across the entire world.

JAM
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 12:07pm

Exactly Charles! And, testing is still INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN!!
Even exposed frontline HeathCsre workers are refused testing!! That is the most likely reason for the numbers...we simply don’t test!!! If Michigan tested anywhere near the numbers New York did, our numbers would be MUCH MUCH higher!!! Patients in the hospital aren’t tested routinely either. They have to fall into some STRICT CRITERIA in order to be tested!!! Hospital administrators say so as “not to overwhelm” the laboratories doing the tests!! Take it from a frontline worker, WE CANNOT GET A TEST TO SAVE OUR LIFE...LITERALLY!!!

Professor
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 12:23pm

The tests are not a random sample of the population, they are only taken on people suspected of being sick or having been exposed and also at high risk of death, so none of the numbers are relevant anyway.

Blessings
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 9:27am

Staying at home is working. Thank you, Governor Whitmer for your brave leadership to blunt the curve. Michigan, stay home, otherwise this will continue much longer than need be. It will be bitter sweet for her to be our VP.

Hallelujah
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 9:45am

Hallelujah our Lenten offerings and sacrifices have been viewed with favor by God! God hears you even if you stay home, now especially if you stay home!

Matt
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 10:17am

We've been slowing for at least a week+. 10+ days ago it (new cases) was growing 30% a day quadrupling every week. Rate started dropping 6+ days ago. Now is 10%ish. Deaths are dramatic but a lagging indicator without much relevance to big picture. Unless it was you! Wouldn't be surprised and more interested if we learn a lot more about how it spreads and to who and who is/why asymptomatic and who is in big peril with it. We've propably been shooting in the dark on those questions

Pete
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 10:41am

Your all dum

Pete
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 10:46am

What i mean by dum is mich is full of bible thumpers what think god is going to save us the only thing what going to save mich is us and. Fallowing gov law to the letter and stop cry about no sport no church and gather and much more

Kevin Grand
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 11:26am

Hmmmmm,

845 deaths/18,970 reported cases=0.0445440 fatality rate

Again, roughly a 96% SURVIVAL RATE.

Has anyone else bothered to do the math besides me?

R.L.
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 11:37am

Amen Mr. Buck. you have to test test test. Asking workers without the proper to work is like saying to a fore fighter to fight a fire without a mask or hose. Come on protect those who are trying to save lives. I see the B.S. everyday. R.L.

JAM
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 12:00pm

Michigan has tested WAY FEWER people than New York did!! That is a disgrace and a disaster!! It is still incredibly difficult to get a Covid test , even for healthcare workers on the frontline!! This has to stop!! Why doesn’t the governor MANDATE testing for any frontline worker that wants it?????!!!! All the NBA got tested because they were exposed. But frontline healthcare workers, EXPOSED REPEATEDLY TO POSITIVE COVID PATIENTS, CANNOT GET A TEST!!! This is an outrage and Gov. Whitmer needs to fix that!! Healthcare is told to call a hotline and they ask you questions . Then 90% of the time the hotline says you do NOT need a test???? Even if you had a fever, if you don’t have one currently, the hotline says you don’t need a test!! Ridiculous!! How about we do something about that??? Before healthcare workers expose each other, their patients and the public !!!!

Trump, Hear our...
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 3:17pm

Not enough tests or labs to process them. We need the president to us the Defense Production Act at least one month ago, instead of begging to private sector to produce and sell to highest bidder. That's not how to win a war if you love your country. It's how win an election, by loving your donors and lemmings.

Merlin Sells
Sun, 04/12/2020 - 9:49pm

Just what sort of magic do you think invoking this spell will achieve? I've heard you shamans over and over praying for Trump to say the magic words of the Defense Production Act- do you think that once he invokes it suddenly there will be masks and ventilators? You think that getting the bureaucracy more involved will lead to faster, safer, more efficient production of needed items than relying on civil society and the free market? So you think that switching from a private-economy to a state-run one, and thereby involving hundreds of political actors, each one controlling their own fiefdom of authority, each of them responding to elections and bribes, will somehow be a quick and rapid improvement over the current system? So you seriously in your heart believe that saying the magic words to this spell will call into being a bureaucrat who will walk into a complicated factory designed to produce cars who will then wave a magic wand and suddenly the factory will produce ventilators?

Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

Vento
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 3:10pm

Governor Whitmer has dramatically overblown this. All we've heard her say is "two weeks",
"two weeks", "two week". Before we reach the "peak". Well, Gorvernor, looks like those "two weeks" are never going to come. You and your fellow Democrat doom and gloomers talked about hundreds of thousands of people dying and it's not even going to come close to that. So thank you for completely tanking the economy and putting millions of people out of work with the hope of derailing the progress that Trump has made. We will not forget.

Robert Prudhomme
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 3:45pm

Michigan has much higher numbers because Detroit metro airport was a hub for people returning from china! Thanks Whitmer!

Ben Frankfurt
Sun, 04/12/2020 - 1:53pm

That is the kind of sensible restriction that could have been put in place. Closing the airport- especially closing flights from New York to Detroit- would have been a good policy decision. It would have also been useful to put a checkpoint on the border from Ohio to Michigan. There are a lot of useful policies that COULD have been implemented. But implementing those would have required creativity, leadership, and courage- it's much easier to just issue an executive order that "waves a wand and freeze everyone for a month" as she wants to do and then sit back and blame everyone else for it not working.

Sandra Davis
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 6:10pm

All the data means nothing when most people are not being tested.
Is there a "fix" in the making here?
Tell everyone the numbers are going down when the tests are just not being given?

Concerned citizen
Wed, 04/08/2020 - 6:16pm

All the pictures online of all the white kids going to party at beaches and having little get togethers and people partying at detroit gas stations numbers hitting over 100 people in the pictures I feel like those numbers are going to go up again soon

Vinny
Fri, 04/24/2020 - 8:36am

Good for her!!! If the people who want the restrictions lifted would just stop and think!!
Things are not okay! There’s a deadly virus out there. If only one or two of you get sick, how many people will you infect and how many people will they infect? It’s the domino effect.
I’ve been home since the first week of March.
I don’t like it. But it sure beats being sick and dead!! Think!! And how many people aren’t wearing mask and how many people will they infect?? Put you sign down, park your car, go in your house and think of someone else besides yourself ! I coined a phrase “The people in hell want a firehose and ice water and they aren’t getting it either “. GO HOME, PLEASE! Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution, please.

Vinny
Fri, 04/24/2020 - 8:36am

Good for her!!! If the people who want the restrictions lifted would just stop and think!!
Things are not okay! There’s a deadly virus out there. If only one or two of you get sick, how many people will you infect and how many people will they infect? It’s the domino effect.
I’ve been home since the first week of March.
I don’t like it. But it sure beats being sick and dead!! Think!! And how many people aren’t wearing mask and how many people will they infect?? Put you sign down, park your car, go in your house and think of someone else besides yourself ! I coined a phrase “The people in hell want a firehose and ice water and they aren’t getting it either “. GO HOME, PLEASE! Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution, please.