Demography is not on Michigan’s side as it confronts the coronavirus crisis.
Michigan, which recorded its first death of a COVID-19 patient on Wednesday, has more old and unhealthy residents on average than other states.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that, based on initial cases in China, the elderly and those with lung and heart disease and diabetes are at the highest risk of dying.
Studying data from the United States, where more than 8,000 have been sickened and 125 have died, the CDC found the fatality rate for those over 85 is 10 percent to 27 percent, with that rate falling to 3 to 11 percent for those 65 to 84 years-old.
It’s 1 percent to 3 percent for 55-64 year olds and less than 1 percent for those 20 to 54. No one under 19 had died in the United States, according to the CDC.
Michigan recorded its first death Wednesday when a man in his 50s died at one of Beaumont Health’s hospital in Wayne County. Officials said he had underlying health conditions.
Michigan has the 12th highest median age at 39.8 years old and the 18th highest percent of residents over 75 years old. Just over 7 percent of the state’s nearly 10 million residents have passed their 75th birthday.
Already, the governor of California called on all seniors and those with chronic illnesses to stay home.
Making matters worse: Some of the oldest counties in the state are in areas with the fewest hospitals.
Michigan also ranks:
- Ninth for the highest rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or lung disease. Eight percent of the state’s residents have COPD; compared to 6.2 percent nationwide.
- Nineteenth highest for the rate of diabetes, at 11.7 percent. The U.S. average is 10.9 percent
- Tenth highest of deaths from heart disease. An estimated 300 Michigan, per 100,000 residents, die annually from heart disease. The national rate is 260.
In Italy, early estimates showed that the median age of the deceased was 81 years old, with most having other complicating factors. In China, a CDC study found that the fatality rate for the elderly was many times higher than it was for younger victims.