In photos: In one week, coronavirus upends life in Michigan

In one week, life has changed dramatically in Michigan, as the coronavirus has put life on hold, caused a rush on grocery stores and forced the closure of many public businesses. (Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

About 90 minutes after the last polls closed in the western Upper Peninsula for Michigan’s presidential primary on March 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the first two positive tests for the coronavirus in Oakland and Macomb counties. (Courtesy photo)

The spread of the highly contagious virus has emptied out usually busy spaces in Michigan, such as Detroit’s RiverWalk, as confirmed cases in one week soared to more than 50 with many more suspected. (Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

In the days immediately after Whitmer’s announcement, crowds thinned at public places such as Eastern Market in Detroit, while business owners hoped to ride out the situation with increased cleaning and sanitizing. (Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

On March 11, Michigan State University and other colleges statewide canceled in-person classes. Students in turn packed bars despite the highly contagious virus, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she found images of long lines at watering holes “incredibly disturbing.” (Bridge photo by Riley Beggin)

The party continued during the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, as celebrations were smaller but nonetheless exuberant, such as this scene in East Lansing.  (Photo courtesy of Matt Schmucker/The State News)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants, libraries, fitness centers and similar facilities on Monday, prompting outlets like the Breadsmith in Okemos to be takeout-only. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

Restaurants like the Fly Trap in Ferndale in Oakland County are struggling to stay in business, as economists predict preventative measures to contain the virus will hammer the U.S. economy. (Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

Hospitals such as Beaumont in Royal Oak have opened drive-thru testing centers for those who fear they have the virus. The waits are often hours-long. (Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

One week into the virus, streets such as these in downtown Detroit have emptied, the future is uncertain and Michigan is girding for the long haul. (Bridge photo by Anthony Lanziloe)

It’s hard to imagine how much has changed in one week.

Seven days ago, Michigan was packing the polls for the presidential primary and the Detroit Tigers were nearing the end of spring training in Florida.

Today, streets are empty, schools and public spaces are closed and fear has gripped the state as the public health and economic threat of the coronavirus is shaping up as a defining generational event.

The latest: Michigan coronavirus locations, updated COVID-19 news

The stock market has plunged. Thousands are at least temporarily out of work. And public health experts wonder if Michigan has enough hospital beds for the virus that has overwhelmed Italy and other nations. 

Bridge photographers have spent a week chronicling a scene that has largely played out behind closed doors.

But as it continues, we need your help. Send us your photos of how you are managing at home, what you are seeing outside and other images that tell how this resilient state is faring.

Send them to And stay safe.




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Kevin Grand
Tue, 03/17/2020 - 2:35pm

Hey, for week two, can you show us those very same stores with ALL of the shelves re-stocked? I see that Mr. Lanzilote didn't bother focusing too clearly on the obviously stocked dairy section clearly shown at the end of the aisle in the image above.

Yes, it does ruin the narrative which you're attempting to portray to further scare readers, but it would be a nice contrast showing how capitalism works, compared to the Venezuelan stores which still cannot replenish themselves after all of these months.

Which economic system does that country represent, again?

middle of the mit
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 2:56am


What are you going to do if this lasts more than 2 weeks? Or 3 months? That is 3 months @ 4 weeks per month, that means 12 weeks?

My bet?

I"ll be asking you this question AGAIN before the incident is over.

Wanna take my bet?

It will only be bragging rights. You know, conservative policy vs liberal policy!

I know what I am voting for. So place your bet Kevin.

Kevin Grand
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 7:37am

Using the previous "pandemics" as a metric (i.e. H1N1, Swine Flu, etc.), I'm not going to do anything. Especially given the numbers for Influenza and Pneumonia deaths which Wuhan isn't even close to coming to (55,672 IN THE US ALONE according to the latest stats jest in case anyone is interested).

The panic certain politicians and the media are over promoting with a vengeance is a disservice to not only our state, but our country as well.

Feel free to clutch tightly onto your blankey and hide in the corner of your closet if the big, bad boogeyman scares you too much.

I'm going to do what Real Americans before me have done, and most of us still continue to do; we're going to go out any continue our daily activities as best as we can (especially given the current amped-up paranoia).