Michigan Health Watch

In-depth reporting on the intersection between public policy and important health topics ‒ such as insurance coverage, hospital admissions, opioid abuse, access to care, medical research and the business of health care ‒ that impact nearly every Michigan resident. 

Articles

Coronavirus Tracker | More than a half-million Michiganders have first vaccine dose

Coronavirus Tracker | More than a half-million Michiganders have first vaccine dose

January 22, 2021 | Bridge Staff

This continuously updated post includes details of Michigan's confirmed COVID-19 cases, maps of locations, state curve data, what the state is doing to contain the spread, and expert suggestions on how you can stay safe.

Robert Gordon out as Michigan health director, as COVID cases plummet

Robert Gordon out as Michigan health director, as COVID cases plummet

January 22, 2021 | Mike Wilkinson

The former Obama official had taken a larger role in fighting the coronavirus after Michigan courts struck down Gov. Whitmer’s power to issue executive orders. He will be succeeded by Elizabeth Hertel.

Michigan: 90 percent need COVID vaccine for herd immunity. That’s unlikely.

Michigan: 90 percent need COVID vaccine for herd immunity. That’s unlikely.

January 20, 2021 | Robin Erb

A new, faster-moving variant worries health officials and means more people need to become immune to stop it. But the state’s history on vaccines plus a shortage of doses doesn’t bode well for meeting that goal anytime soon.

Michigan bars, restaurants can reopen Feb. 1 with restrictions, state says

Michigan bars, restaurants can reopen Feb. 1 with restrictions, state says

January 20, 2021 | Mike Wilkinson, Paula Gardner

The decision, which will be finalized in the next few days, comes as coronavirus cases decline throughout Michigan. State officials say the ban on indoor dining helped drive down rates. Others aren’t so sure.

Michigan makes gains on COVID vaccines at nursing homes; other seniors wait

Michigan makes gains on COVID vaccines at nursing homes; other seniors wait

January 19, 2021 | Mike Wilkinson, Robin Erb

Michigan has shown progress in getting nursing home residents and staff vaccinated. But overall, nearly 8 percent of people over 70 have received a COVID vaccine in Michigan.

Michigan defends COVID vaccine rollout, says it’s not as bad as data suggest

Michigan defends COVID vaccine rollout, says it’s not as bad as data suggest

January 13, 2021 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan officials blame a reporting lag for vaccine undercounts as federal officials warn that states with poor performance will get fewer doses when reserves are released.

Not if, but when: Michigan on lookout for faster-moving COVID variant

Not if, but when: Michigan on lookout for faster-moving COVID variant

January 13, 2021 | Robin Erb

Identifying new variants of COVID is a high-tech, genetic search for a “needle in a haystack,” with just two labs doing the work in a state with thousands of new coronavirus samples each day. But while Michigan studies only a small sliver of testing specimens, it’s doing better than other states.

Older adults in Michigan frustrated in efforts to get COVID vaccine

Older adults in Michigan frustrated in efforts to get COVID vaccine

January 12, 2021 | Robin Erb

 A week after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced people 65 and older would be eligible for a vaccine, health department websites and other government offices are being flooded by residents trying to get registered.

COVID trends improve in Michigan. Will Whitmer lift restaurant dining ban?

COVID trends improve in Michigan. Will Whitmer lift restaurant dining ban?

January 12, 2021 | Mike Wilkinson

Restrictions due to expire on Friday may have helped Michigan avoid a surge in coronavirus that swept the nation, but its unemployment rate is higher than most states.

Michigan ended surprise medical bills, but left out ground ambulances

Michigan ended surprise medical bills, but left out ground ambulances

January 11, 2021 | Ted Roelofs

Despite recent reforms that shield patients from unexpected bills they thought were covered by insurance, ground ambulance services can still charge high fees if they are outside a patient’s insurance network. A lawmaker promises to look into the matter.

Henry Ford study on hydroxychloroquine for COVID quietly shut down

Henry Ford study on hydroxychloroquine for COVID quietly shut down

January 11, 2021 | Robin Erb

Henry Ford Health System and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan touted the study in April as a possible game-changer in protecting first responders from the deadly virus. But low participation and criticism of the health system’s research doomed the effort, which was ended before Christmas.

My year covering the health beat during Michigan’s COVID crisis

My year covering the health beat during Michigan’s COVID crisis

January 11, 2021 | Robin Erb

Chronicling a pandemic is a reminder of our shared resilience and what we can achieve in laboratories, at bedsides, in classrooms and at kitchen tables. While 2020 was awful, let’s remember what we’ve gained amid the loss.

Millions eligible for Michigan COVID vaccine, but plans vary by location

Millions eligible for Michigan COVID vaccine, but plans vary by location

January 8, 2021 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting

Unclear data and messaging, a lurching supply chain and a growing chorus of finger-pointing dogs the state’s early vaccine plan as people over 65 seek protection against COVID-19.

After weeks of positive COVID news, Michigan faces more peril

After weeks of positive COVID news, Michigan faces more peril

January 6, 2021 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state health officials note a rise in cases and positivity rates, and worry about a new variant of the coronavirus as well as a possible post-holiday spike.

Michigan opens COVID vaccine to those 65 and older, other frontline workers

Michigan opens COVID vaccine to those 65 and older, other frontline workers

January 6, 2021 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the state’s uneven vaccine distribution program. The expanded list of people who can get vaccines starting next week includes police, teachers and others more at risk.

Thousands of Michigan health workers are turning down COVID vaccines

Thousands of Michigan health workers are turning down COVID vaccines

January 4, 2021 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Some frontline health care workers and first responders are reluctant to take the vaccine, contributing to Michigan having one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation.

Best of Bridge Michigan: Our top coronavirus stories of 2020

Best of Bridge Michigan: Our top coronavirus stories of 2020

December 29, 2020 | Bridge Staff

In a year like none other, 2020 was in many ways defined by a relentless pandemic that touched every element of life and killed thousands of Michiganders.

At nearly 12K deaths, COVID to be No. 3 cause of death in Michigan in 2020

At nearly 12K deaths, COVID to be No. 3 cause of death in Michigan in 2020

December 23, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Coronavirus killed nearly as many as strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes combined in Michigan this year. Heart disease and cancer are the top two causes of death.

Did Michigan health orders slow COVID? Probably. But how much is debatable.

Did Michigan health orders slow COVID? Probably. But how much is debatable.

December 23, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Coronavirus cases fell after Michigan imposed restrictions on businesses. But was that the cause of decline? And was it worth the cost to the economy? It could take years to know for sure, and anecdotal evidence nationwide isn’t as strong as supporters suggest.

‘Nobody’s coming.’ How COVID is changing everyday life in Bay City.

‘Nobody’s coming.’ How COVID is changing everyday life in Bay City.

December 22, 2020 | Ron French, Paula Gardner, Mike Wilkinson

The coronavirus struck hard in November, closing schools, cutting off incomes and putting an end to the notion that this mid-Michigan town could somehow elude a pandemic.

Pages