COVID-19 | Michigan Radio


As confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge in Michigan, Michigan Radio will be tracking stories about the people impacted, how our healthcare system is faring, what it means for our economy, and more. You can find all of our latest coverage below, or click here to see the latest update of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The feed below also includes national coverage of COVID-19 from NPR.

This is ongoing coverage. 

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Nealmetria Loper spends much of her day “in” third grade, watching remote lessons over the shoulder of one of her daughters to make sure she’s following along on lessons. The mother of four is also just a shout away if her other daughters run into tech issues or come across directions they don’t quite understand. 

an african american woman holds up her sleeve in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
Zoran Zeremski / Adobe Stock

On a cold, sunny Saturday in March, Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony wants to keep the mood light. Relaxed.

“Did you see my lollipops over there?” he asks, pointing down the hall with a laugh. “We’ve got lollipops! So, from the bitter to the sweet,” he says, moving through the socially-distanced crowd at Fellowship Chapel in northwest Detroit.

Every Saturday for the last several weeks, the parking lot, halls, and event space at this historically Black church - one of the largest in the city - has been turned into a vaccination clinic for those 60 and older.

The White House, seen behind a fence, in front of a blue cloudy sky
Noah Fortson/NPR

President Biden is giving the first prime-time address of his presidency to mark one year of the coronavirus pandemic, a day after Congress passed a massive relief package. More than 500,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate voted along party lines Thursday to authorize a lawsuit against Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The Senate Republican majority approved a potential challenge to Whitmer’s use of line-item vetoes in budget bills. The bills were meant to rein in Whitmer’s use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 crisis. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After a delay, Flint Community Schools will return to in-person learning next week.

The district’s planned return to the classroom was postponed three weeks ago because there were not enough sneeze guards for all the student desks. District officials insist they have enough now.

School Board President Carol MacIntosh insists they want students to learn and go home healthy.

“I would like to be able to look any parent or community member in the face and say ‘Look we went the extra mile because we are serious about our students’ safety,” says MacIntosh.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

It’s been one year since the first identified COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)

Today on Stateside, more than 15,700 Michiganders have died due to COVID-19. A funeral director discusses how the ongoing pandemic has impacted the mourning process for so many Michigan families. Also, the effort to rebuild community trust through free water testing in Flint. Plus, a look at the “tampon tax” in Michigan — and its uncertain future.

headshot of Dr. Joneigh Khaldun
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

On March 10, 2020, Michigan identified the first two known cases of COVID-19 in the state. In the year since, more than 650,000 Michiganders have contracted the disease and more 15,000 have died.

As part of Michigan Radio's look back at the past year, the state's chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun spoke with Michigan Radio's Doug Tribou on Morning Edition.

Produce in a supermarket
Gemma / Unsplash

Governor Whitmer announced this week Michigangers age 50 and up are eligible for the vaccine. But there are still many younger essential workers who still can’t get vaccinated, despite constant interaction with strangers. 

Front-line workers in Michigan’s food processing facilities, grocery stores, and big-box stores have had no choice but to show up for work, interacting with customers that are sometimes physically distanced, and sometimes not. 

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.

Late in the evening on March 10, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the first cases of coronavirus in Michigan. In the days that followed, the state was on alert as the disease COVID-19 took hold.

A two-week shutdown became a month, then three months, then six months. Now, one year later, all of our lives look very different. Masks are commonplace, many of us still work from home, and students continue to learn remotely. Weddings and trips were postponed or cancelled. Lives were put on hold, and worse. More than 16,000 Michiganders have died of COVID-19. Over 650,000 have tested positive.

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

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city’s ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on how swiftly it can vaccinate residents—and receive help from the federal government.

Duggan laid out his plans in the mayor’s annual State of the City address Tuesday night. The event was mostly virtual—Duggan spoke from the new Stellantis plant on the city’s east side to just a handful of people.

Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, a third type of vaccine to prevent COVID-19 will be available to qualifying Michigan residents in the coming weeks. A journalist discusses how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could help local health officials get more vulnerable populations vaccinated. Also, a look at what it takes to find work in Michigan’s booming cannabis industry. Plus, the path to some kind of normal after a year of pandemic living.

building marquee that says "socially distant but always together"
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

March 10 marks one year since Michigan’s first confirmed COVID-19 case. We want to know how COVID has changed your life this year. What’s the worst thing the pandemic has brought - and what’s the best thing?

State officials say they've detected the first known case of a new coronavirus variant in Michigan.

The variant is called B.1.351 and it was first discovered in South Africa last fall. The new variant has been identified in a child in Jackson County.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Around 20,000 students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District are expected back in classrooms on Monday.

DPSCD suspended in-person learning when COVID-19 cases spiked in November. Now that community positivity rates have dropped well below 5%, the district decided it was time to re-open its doors, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said.

a man wearing a mask receives a covid-19 vaccine
C/O Spectrum Health

Local health districts in Northern Michigan said Thursday they will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility at a faster pace than state guidelines.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said earlier this week that anyone 50 and older could get vaccinated against the virus starting on Monday, March 22. People in that age group could get vaccinated earlier — March 8 — if they had a pre-existing condition that would make them particularly vulnerable to the virus.


Today on Stateside, how the pandemic is delaying parole for people who are incarcerated in Michigan, even as prisons continue to have outbreaks of the virus. Also, two grocery store workers discuss waiting for a vaccine after a year of being on the front lines of the pandemic. Plus, why the United Auto Workers corruption scandal isn’t over yet.

Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, Wayne State University has a low COVID-19 infection rate among Michigan’s major universities. We talk with the school’s president about how the institution has been keeping case numbers down. Also, an activist discusses the ongoing effort to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to people with disabilities in Michigan. Plus, the co-founder of one homegrown restaurant chain talks reopening at a limited capacity.

Wayne State University
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Many college campuses have been sources of community spread of COVID-19 over the past year. Big schools like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University have at times struggled to curb spread and socialization among the student body. University of Michigan recently struggled with the first cases of the U.K. variant spreading through the state, and the school community currently represents about two-thirds of the total infections in Washtenaw County.

U of M has had more than 5,000 cases to date, with MSU not far behind that number.

Spectrum Health

The state of Michigan is expanding vaccine eligibility this month. On March 8, anyone over 50 with a medical condition or disability, plus anyone who acts as a caregiver for children with special needs, can sign up for an appointment. And later in the month, on March 22, all Michiganders aged 50 or older will be eligible.

The news comes one day after President Joe Biden announced a major boost in vaccine production nationwide. Biden says he expects enough vaccines to be produced for all American adults by the end of May. The Food and Drug Administration approved the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week.

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that more COVID-19 restrictions can be relaxed.

Restaurants will be allowed to accept twice as many indoor diners, retail shops may allow more customers, and more people will be allowed to attend private indoor gatherings starting Friday.

Whitmer said restaurants will also be allowed to stay open an hour later – until 11 p.m.

Robert Gordon wearing face mask
State of Michigan

Updated Tuesday, March 2 at 5:03 p.m.:

Republicans in the state Legislature say they will hold hearings on severance payments to former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon and a top deputy.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that she cannot go into specifics on a personnel matter, including payments that will total more than $155,000 to Gordon.


Today on Stateside, what is the role of primary care doctors in Michigan’s vaccination plan? Plus, one family talks to us about starting a podcast during the pandemic. And, some advice for adults trying to help kids through the mental health challenges of the moment.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest public school district will be re-opening to in-person instruction next week.

Officials with Detroit Public Schools Community District say face-to-face instruction will resume next Monday, March 8. The district suspended in-person classes in November, as COVID-19 case rates in the city climbed in November.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says with infection rates in the city down and teachers having access to coronavirus vaccines, the district can again provide an in-person learning option. 

Phil Roeder, Flickr Creative Commons

As of March 1, here’s the official state list of who’s eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • People over 65
  • Healthcare workers
  • Long term care residents and workers
  • Mortuary service workers
  • Frontline workers, including child care and pre-K through high school staff, and workers at congregate care facilities
  • Food processing and agricultural workers

After nearly a year of grief, vaccinations bring joy to Michigan

Mar 1, 2021
Elaine Cromie / Bridge Michigan

For much of last year, Michigan’s nurses and other frontline workers were sometimes called names, cursed at, or lied to.

They scrambled to fill staff shortages, track down masks or other supplies, and, in some cases, as the virus tore through their communities, found there was precious little they could do for thousands of the sick and dying.

Then, finally, vaccines arrived.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are weighing limitations on what kinds of messages can be placed on the state’s emergency alert system.

The system is used to send messages to Michigan residents’ mobile phones about endangered children and natural disasters.