Michigan has highest U.S. coronavirus death rate, ranks low in testing

In Michigan, deaths equal 6 percent of all confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest rate in the nation. (Shutterstock)

Michigan has the highest death rate from coronavirus in the nation, and has conducted among the fewest tests per capita of states hit hardest by the pandemic.

With 95 new deaths reported Monday, Michigan has had 1,602 die from COVID-19.

But as a percentage of confirmed cases, deaths equal 6 percent of all confirmed cases, the highest rate in the nation. Even New York, with more than 10,000 deaths, has a lower death rate because it has tested three times as many people on a per-capita basis.


Overall, Michigan is third in the nation in terms of total deaths behind New York and New Jersey.  That’s well ahead of states with higher populations, including California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida and Ohio.

Only five states in the country have more deaths than Wayne County’s 760, which includes 395 in Detroit. 

Metro Detroit’s Oakland County (347) has more deaths than all but 13 states and Macomb County (240) more than all but 17 states.

One of the reasons Michigan’s 6 percent is high is likely tied to its relative lack of testing.

As of Sunday, the state had completed nearly 800 tests for every 100,000 people, a total of 79,437. 

Of the 10 states with high rates of infection and deaths, only California (just under 500 tests per 100,000) had fewer tests than Michigan.

New York had conducted over 460,000 tests as of Sunday, about 2,400 tests per 100,000 people, or nearly triple Michigan’s rate.


Michigan is set to dramatically ramp up coronavirus testing across the state, adding 13 sites. Those sites and enlisting a commercial lab in Grand Rapids will increase daily testing by 40 percent.

State and federal officials have said a more robust testing system must be in place before the “stay-home” restrictions are lifted so future outbreaks can be quickly identified.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Saturday that new drive-through testing sites will be added in some of the hardest hit areas, including Detroit and Flint.

Others will be added in Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Traverse City, Benton Harbor and Bad Axe. Another site will be opened in Atlanta, a small town between Gaylord and Alpena.

Much of northern, southwest and west Michigan have had relatively few tests on a per capita basis, but also fewer cases and deaths.


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Dump Tump
Mon, 04/13/2020 - 10:01pm

This is all the Republican's fault. Trump is the President and he should have saved Michigan when he had the chance, but instead all he wanted to do was talk about China and put in place racist bans on travel from that great nation. Biden was right- Trump should have let more Chinese people in and they might have saved us.

Also, John Engler is to blame. He poisened Flint's water supply while Bush caused global warming, all of which made this virus worse. Then you've got people going around saying it's from China- it's not- it's from Covid, which is a city in the most GOP area of the world, Texas. That's where this is all from- it's because the Republicans fought for slavery in the Civil War and were mean to all those nice muslims, that's why we're having all these problems.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 8:32am

You do realize about 50% of Michiganders, especially those from the SE part of the state, are going to take every word you've written as gospel. TDS is even more rampant than COVID-19.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 9:01am

I did read somewhere that mental illness is on the increase because of forced isolation. These comments are just another example that increased mental illness is a fact.

Tree Cutter
Tue, 04/14/2020 - 3:03pm

Can we just skip all the BS and go straight to the civil war? It should be interesting to see the Democrats whose motto is “Ignorance is strength” and live up to it, versus a bunch of Bible thumping Republicans who’s idea of resistance is to go 5 miles over the speed limit.

Impeach whitmer
Tue, 04/14/2020 - 8:11pm

Your ignorant, flat out ignorant! Impeachment of witchmer needs to happen immediately!!!!

Wed, 04/15/2020 - 11:24am

Common sense please.
Note the minister that refused to close his church until safe to hold services. He is now DEAD from COVID 19.
Hope you and yours are all safe and sound and no loss due to stupidity.
Do you think you could do better trying to protect hundreds of thousands of people?
Get real.

Wed, 04/15/2020 - 11:04am

Drink the Kool-Aid.....please.... BTW learn your history....Lincoln was a Republican....the slavery states were in the Democrat controlled south.

Wed, 04/15/2020 - 2:14pm

Even the left wing loonies wouldn’t believe that nonsense. Are you a troll or did you forget to take your anti- psychotics?

Kevin Everett
Tue, 04/21/2020 - 12:04pm

Go live in China where everyone is on lockdown forever.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 9:31am

We cannot fall behind in testing, tracing, and isolating. It is the key to moving forward!!

Michigan has been behind other states in response for many weeks and still not getting well organized. It must be state level: other states are just executing more tests and taking the measures more seriously.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 10:57am

Get a grip, Dump Trump. I can almost feel your spit landing on me. There are many principles Republicans (remember when we had such peo'ple?) that are never-Trumpers. You should educate yourself and read their positions. Jonah Goldberg, George Will, Mona Charon. Give them a whirl. And you don't have to have TDS to know that this man has failed us miserably. We couldn't have avoided all of the Covid cases but we didn't have to ruin our economy and show our weaknesses to the entire world. S. Korea never had to lock-down. Do you get that? Only quaretined people weren't going to work because they had this 21st century invention called viral testing that was denied to our population.
This never had to happen to us to the extent that it has. The Italians quarentined boats coming into Venice for 40 days in the 14th century.
So if you are contented with living in the 13th century, just stand by your man like a little girl.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 11:48am

Pretty sure PRESIDENT Trump did close THE UNITED STATES Border back in January of 2020 as soon as he had the evidence he needed .. only one other country closed off in December of 2019 based off of RUMOR .. . the US was number 2 in boarder closing I believe & HE WAS BLAMED THEN TOO for being racist etc etc in the middle of a bogus impeachment trial going on for closing the borders ... BIDEN is like the wind.. need to watch some reruns on what he had to say THEN DURING “THAT TIME PERIOD” ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP’s decision on boundary closing ... also someone NEEDs to watch a different channel for the NEW & then get at least a few supported facts being reported especially BY DUMP TRUMP .. so for a little history lesson .. each state is responsible for for each states borders .. ours in MI are by a DEMOCRAT and the FEDERAL GOV only put the 6 feet distancing in place nothing else! VARIOUS FORMS OF COVID have been around for years .. my dog is vaccinated against one of them ... COVID-19 IS A MAN MADE VIRUS FROM CHINA.. WHO BY THE WAY WAS NOT FORTHRIGHT about it!!!!! ... PUT BLAME WHERE BLAME BELONGS ... one can’t eat bat poo with your food & play man/animal games without getting.. well I’ll save some of those interesting facts for people to read up on AND RESEARCH!!! .. it’s a shame when there’s so much more loyalty for a communist county than for our leaders in the US.. In fact I hope all the allegiance DUMP TRUMP HAS shown here today in the comments has enough integrity to back their own words and PAYS IT FORWARD with the stimulus money President Trump is trying to help with .. give that US money to someone who stands behind the Presidential of the US .. voted in by them or not as AMERICANS we should respect OUR LEADERS!!!! .. such a lack of respect because someone THINKS THEY can do better .. OR when the borders open up again buy a ONE WAY plane ticket to CHINA and see how they live.. they will gladly take care of someone who makes the remarks against their government such as you have today DUMP TRUMP... you like that freedom of speech right now but not the freedom of our voting system .. THAT ELECTED PRESIDENT TRUMP!!! .. it’s so easy to jump all over someone when you think you have all the answers BUT OVER A VIRUS.. REALLY? President Trump I believe is the 1st to handle such a situation and then to come into office without the necessary supplies THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE to handle all of this .. where is the PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION by the way ?., the one who was in charge of our stock pile? HE is very much in part to blame for the inadequate supply’s in the beginning..huge shortage on medical supplies!!!! . I see no mention of that in DUMP TRUMP comments? I for one am very grateful for WHEN president Trump closed the borders OR we would have lost 10 times more ., he was attacked verbally then just as he is now .. this is a time of loss and coming together.. not a time of finger pointing and blaming Especially all the way back to the CIVIL WAR??? REALLY??? .. time to move on and suck it up butter cup .. it is what it is.. PRESIDENT TRUMP is not to blame for all of this!!!.. I’ll go a step further .. the “malaria” drug has Been around for ever .. bet many are on it for Rheumatoid Arthritis.. he’s pushing that because it’s the most effective right now and the cheapest.. and that’s a whole other topic!!!

Not Grazing
Wed, 04/15/2020 - 8:39am

Some advice for better comment posts:
Shorter posts (reads like a 2 hour Trump infomercial). Check your CAPS LOCK before typing. Fact check yourself (that research thing you mention). Put a little common sense into your 3 word sentences (ask any 6th grader for help with that one.) And lastly, STOP GRAZING IN THE LOCO WEED with those sheep. (They aint doing social distancing).

D. Simmons
Tue, 04/14/2020 - 12:19pm

In actuality, we don't know if we have the highest rate if we have no idea how many people actually have had the virus. Until everyone is tested we will not know the actual infection rates or the true death rate.

Dan Oprea
Tue, 04/14/2020 - 12:37pm

There are direct correlations between the ratio of (positive tests / negative tests), and the speed of the spread of the disease and the death ratio. The lower the former ratio, the more time authorities have to track the spread, which significantly improves the outcomes.
As a Michigander I am saddened to say that we had the worst response in the country. So far we have 1 positive test for 2 negative tests. This is terrible. The minimal ratio we need to have in order to be able to track the disease is 1 positive test for 10 negative tests, given how contagious COVID-19 is. The governor seems to thing that high number of tests per capita is sufficient. That is not the case when the prevalence of the disease is already high, like it is in Michigan.
If we continue this way, the spread of the disease might peak at some level, but not come down enough to be able to lift the lockdown. Aggressive testing and tracking is absolutely needed - the lockdown alone is not working despite being very costly from an economic standpoint.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 2:34pm

Today Yahoo ran an article on a sheriff having to break up an Easter barbecue being held in the panhandle of Florida because the people were not observing social distancing ordered by the Florida governor. One look at the picture and you will understand why the Michigan death rate is centered in Detroit. Surviving is simple. Just make believe that everyone around you is infected with the virus. Stay away from everyone and you will survive.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 1:54pm

A Reuters article in the Apr 3 NYT discussed Ontario's lack of testing compared to other provinces. The other provinces had redundant companies and Ontario relied on a single company. Public Health Ontario also stated it was a funding issue. Testing rate per 100,000 people:
Ontario: 419
Alberta: 1,114
Quebec: 822
I would imagine their testing rates are higher now. Michigan, at 27th, appears near the median among states.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 4:11pm

Third world Michigan—Along with decaying infrastructure, child poverty, and failing public schools, MI should just secede from the US and join Haiti and the like in world rankings.