Nisa Khan | Michigan Radio
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Nisa Khan

Data Reporter

Nisa Khan joins Michigan Radio as the station’s first full-time data reporter. In that capacity, she will be reporting on data-driven news stories as well as working with other news staff to acquire and analyze data in support of their journalism.

Most recently Nisa has been working at the Detroit Free Press analyzing COVID-19 data. Additionally, she was a digital intern at Michigan Radio and worked with Michigan Radio's Peabody award winning Believed podcast team.

Nisa is a University of Michigan graduate in information science and has a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford, where she focused on data and multimedia. She was a City University of New York (CUNY) Journalism Fellow at ProPublica where she did data journalism, as well.

A sign of the University of Michigan Central Campus
Anna Schlutt / Michigan Radio

Walter Lasecki, a well-known University of Michigan computer science assistant professor, is resigning as of August 30 amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him. 

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering said Lasecki, in the meantime, will not be able to have in-person interactions with students.

Emergency room hospital
Pixabay

Black residents faced disparities in hospitalizations during the third coronavirus wave, according to data from the University of Michigan. 

The MI Safe Start Map’s latest complete data spans from March 30 to April 27. This covers the middle of the recent hospitalization peak, which came close to surpassing spring 2020’s heights. (The dashboard's disparities feature updates every Tuesday for the last week.)

Ali Beydoun
Tyler Scott

The Paycheck Protection Program awarded about $16 billion to 128,159 small businesses and nonprofits in Michigan in the first two rounds of PPP funding. And you can use this map and database to find out who got a loan. 

Update: This article and its graphics has been updated to include smaller loan amounts. The previous version had an technical error that left these loans out.   

The federal government created the PPP through the CARES Act of 2020. It's meant to help business owners keep staff on the payroll in the wake of the pandemic and state-ordered public health restrictions – a one-two punch that slashed many businesses’ revenue. Businesses are able to apply to the program through a lender. The PPP loans were made to be forgivable and converted into grants, as long as the borrower meets all the program's requirements.

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The federal government won't be sending additional vaccines to Michigan. That's despite Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to secure more shots as cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.

A screen capture of the Michigan Attorney General's presentation.
Michigan Attorney General

Four Muskegon County deputies and one former Wellspath nurse have been charged with involuntary manslaughter Thursday over the death of a man in jail. 

 

 

In March 2019, 39-year-old Paul Bulthouse was held at Muskegon County Jail on a probation detainer. He was classified as suicidal, which required him to be monitored every fifteen minutes. This also meant his cell was close to the booking center and was always visible on video monitors. 

Bulthouse died 13 days later after suffering 22 seizures in five and a half hours, according to a release from Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

Michigan continues to lead the country in dismal COVID-19 indicators, according to a Wednesday update by the state's Department of Health and Human Services. The state update used data as of April 3. 

 

Over the past week, Michigan has had the highest number of cases and the highest case rate in the country.

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

More than 2,600 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of April 2, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

That's more than three times as many people who were hospitalized in Michigan just a month ago. 

 

Lorenzo Garrett felt abandoned when he was in prison. 

 

“No one really cares about you,” he said. 

 

In prison, you get used to a limited routine, he said, and that routine was thoroughly shattered during the coronavirus pandemic.  

 

Garrett said he contracted the virus last April and was quarantined for more than a month. Garrett said he was in pain, but unsure if it was COVID or the hip consultations that were put off temporarily. He was moved to a unit that he described as unsanitary. In the beginning, some prisoners didn’t want to disclose their symptoms for fear of losing the little freedoms they had, he said, and he saw other men get sicker and sicker. 

Idalis Pagan didn’t think it would be so long before she got to see her uncles. But if she can travel to the prison, like she plans to in the next month, new rules will allow her to give them each two real hugs.

Miguel and David are like older brothers to her. One is at Chippewa County prison, nearly 300 miles away from her home in Grand Rapids. The other was recently moved to another lockup.

It’s been one year since Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the first cases of COVID-19 in Michigan.

That spring, Michigan became a COVID hotspot. The first wave of the pandemic hit southeast Michigan especially hard. By April 10, 2020, Detroit alone accounted for 23% of the state's total cases, and 32% of deaths.

illustration of COVID-19 related things
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

An image of two alcoholic drinks.
user Dinner Series / Flickr

Doctors have reported high increases in hospitalizations due to alcoholic-related liver diseases during the coronavirus pandemic. A Kaiser Health News article describes admissions jumping by 30% or 50% at university hospitals across the country since March.  

 

 

And Michigan doctors are seeing it too. 

Alcoholic liver disease, or ALD, is a serious condition that can lead to a buildup of fats and the inflammation or scarring of the liver. Liver damage can lead to cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, chronic hepatitis and liver cancer. The beginning side-effects include bleeding, eyes turning yellow or stomach swelling. It can be fatal. 

Prison wall
Microsoft Images

A report released Tuesday by the Citizens for Prison Reform calls for the decreased use of solitary confinement by the Michigan Department of Corrections. 

Citizens for Prison Reform is a criminal justice organization that partnered with several Michigan organizations to form the Open MI Door campaign, which aims to end the practice of solitary.

The report details a survey of the psychological impact of solitary confinement on incarcerated people and their families. The organization said the short-term isolation should be limited to “15 days or less and only if absolutely necessary to protect the safety of incarcerated persons and corrections staff.”

"Even during this time period, people should have access to consistent and meaningful therapy, programming, and at least 4 hours out-of-cell time, if not more, each day."

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has identified 90 cases of the new coronavirus variant at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia. 

Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility is where the first known case of the new variant was found in Michigan prisons last Tuesday. According to a Michigan Department of Corrections email, an employee had the variant. 

Health experts say the new coronavirus variant, B.1.1.7 that originated from the United Kingdom, is more contagious than the original strain. 

A more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been detected at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia.  

 

According to an internal Michigan Department of Corrections email obtained by Michigan Radio, incarcerated people and employees there will now be tested daily.

The Michigan Department of Corrections is starting to send test results to a state lab to look for coronavirus variants.

COURTESY OF SPECTRUM HEALTH

It's been seven weeks since the first COVID-19 vaccines were distributed in Michigan and, as of Monday, the state has now officially seen over one million shots in arms. 

 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tracks its vaccine distributions in a dashboard that is updated throughout the week with metrics for first and second doses, doses by county, and more. 

 

As of Sunday, more than 200,000 people are now fully vaccinated. 

Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Computer science engineer professor Peter Chen, who has been with the University of Michigan for 27 years, was arraigned Wednesday on a criminal sexual conduct charge. 

 

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

COVID-19 tests, rent payment and food were the top three pandemic-related issues for state residents who reached out to Michigan 2-1-1, a subsidiary of the Michigan Association of United Ways that connects people to resources for free through text, chat or calling 2-1-1.

 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Michigan — so far — has not seen a large spike in COVID-19 cases since the winter holidays.

 

“While I am concerned about the slight uptick in cases after the holidays, we are not seeing the surge of hospitalization that we saw in the beginning of November,” Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said at a press conference Jan. 13.

Kandace Day

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now regularly releasing data about cases of an inflammatory condition that has affected some children who were, according to the state website, “infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.”

There have been 58 confirmed cases in Michigan since April, according to a January 7 update. That is 15 more cases reported since the mid-December update. Their ages range from zero to 20.

family members inside a van decorated with eid decor
Nisa Khan for Michigan Radio

On Sunday, Muslims across the world celebrated the end of Ramadan, a month-long time of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. 

With Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order in effect, Ramadan as a whole has looked a little different this year. In Dearborn, families displayed Ramadan lights as a way to brighten spirits during the coronavirus shutdown, since friends and extended family were unable to gather together to break fast during an evening meal known as the iftar. In Detroit, Mosques set up virtual connections across YouTube, Facebook, Zoom, and more to bring members together during Ramadan.

Yasmeen Fadouh, Malak Wazne, and Rima Fadlallah
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

A lot of Michiganders have hometown pride. It’s the reason you see so many locals sporting everything from bumper stickers to tattoos celebrating their home. But in some cities, hometown pride is a bit more complicated.

Cities like Dearborn, Michigan.

Dearborn native Rima Fadlallah says many people from her city see being “too Dearborn” as a negative thing. Being associated with the city's large Arab American community, she says, "in some ways is an unpopular thing to do."

Morgan McCaul
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Morgan McCaul was looking to start something.

Currently a rising junior studying at the University of Michigan, she has been in activism circles for years now. McCaul has appeared on local news, panels, and was even a speaker for this year’s Ann Arbor Women’s March, specifically in promoting awareness of sexual and domestic violence.

Vaping accesories
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

 

The fruity smell associated with vape pens is a new normal in schools across Michigan, including Belding High School, east of Grand Rapids. That’s despite it being banned by its administration.

It has been five years since Flint’s water supply was switched, and the Flint water crisis began.

Since then, fifteen officials involved with the incident have been charged. The investigation has been active since 2015.

officer writing parking ticket
Daniel Hohlfeld / Adobe Stock

Tire chalking by police is now banned in Michigan, a decision the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made Monday. A lawyer, whose client has $180 in separately issued fines, argued that this practice violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches.

First image of a black hole
Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

It was considered impossible. It was said to be like taking a picture of a grapefruit on the moon but with a radio telescope.

That’s how 29-year-old computer scientist Katie Bouman explained an international effort to capture an image of a black hole. She finally made history Wednesday morning after she and a team working on an Event Horizon Telescope project were able to accomplish that very goal.

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