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.
This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, affirming that all people have the right to participate in civil society. During the pandemic, however, families who have children with autism face the complexity of everything from mask-wearing, and virtual therapy, to getting the vital services they need and feeling overwhelmed.
With guesswork built into coronavirus testing at Michigan colleges and universities, campus leaders hope to keep students and staff safe. Nobody, it seems, knows if their plans are likely to work.
There are 14 coronavirus outbreaks reported at Michigan colleges and K-12 schools. The state’s top doc says Michigan’s data system doesn’t collect school names now, and will have to be updated. Until then, nothing.
The FDA has delayed approving broader use of convalescent plasma until more randomized studies are completed. But Henry Ford and U-M doctors will continue to study the promising treatment on coronavirus patients.
The state health department declined to say which K-12 schools or colleges had confirmed outbreaks, noting that it has not done so for many businesses. One education leader said parents will likely want to know.
A federal agency is allowing Philip Morris to market its product as producing fewer harmful chemicals than smoked tobacco, even as it delivers about as much nicotine.
With hundreds of senior centers largely closed during the pandemic, virtual bingo has its limits. Some seniors indicate they’d rather chance contracting the virus than face an uncertain future filled with loneliness.
Saying they are underpaid and unprotected, union members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan say they’re ready to walk. State nursing home advocate says pay has increased; COVID made staffing and PPE a struggle.
The litigation is part of a national movement toward exempting menstrual products from states' sales taxes.
With school openings approaching, infections are increasing among those 19 and younger in Michigan, which experts attribute to the hubris of youth and lack of social distancing.
In Michigan and elsewhere, Black residents have lower life expectancies and face a host of health inequities. An order from Gov. Whitmer declares racism a health threat, but officials say funding and follow-through is key to make a difference.
One mental health official says the funds “won’t go very far at all,” as the state’s opioid overdose rates start to climb once again after the coronavirus outbreak hit Michigan in the spring.
In Eugene, thousands of 911 police calls involving the mentally ill are routed to a mobile crisis team that’s been on the road more than 30 years. That gives police more time and focus to handle violent crime for which they are better trained.
Despite new guidelines intended to give nursing homes and other facilities more discretion to allow visitors during a pandemic, families say some centers remain rigid, hurting the residents they are trying to protect.
Isolation is sapping the life of residents in nursing homes and other facilities amid no-visitation policies during COVID-19. As restrictions grind on, Bridge tells the stories of six residents, who are fading a bit day by lonely day.
The rush to develop a vaccine quickly is the very reason many COVID vaccine skeptics say they don’t trust it. If not enough people take an approved vaccine, it would be difficult to achieve herd immunity to protect residents from the virus.
Antibody-rich plasma is thought to save lives among the sickest coronavirus patients. Michigan’s major hospitals now will see if it helps the mildly sick before they get worse.
Large numbers in the U.S., especially African Americans with an eye on history, say they’re wary of a COVID-19 vaccine. Public health leaders say much work is needed to develop public confidence in the safety of a vaccine.
New state data and reports from county medical examiners show a rise in opioid-related overdoses and deaths in parts of Michigan, which was likely fueled by the isolation and anxiety of the pandemic.
COVID-19 tests were once reserved for very sick or at-risk groups. Now people across the state are now getting tested. But the volume is slowing results and straining test supplies, making it harder to track the virus’ spread.