COVID-19 | Michigan Radio
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COVID-19

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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woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

Public health in Michigan has undergone a radical shift. 

The COVID-19 epidemic has killed more than 4,700 people and sickened tens of thousands of others in the state. Most businesses are closed, and one million-plus children are learning in place as best they can. 

As the Whitmer administration begins to make decisions on which businesses to reopen and when, the state’s chief medical executive says the numbers are improving.

“We are seeing a significant decline overall in the number of cases and deaths in the state and that is positive,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated May 13, 2020 at 2:45 p.m.:

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has suspended the license of barber Karl Manke, according to the Lansing State Journal

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Revenues are down sharply at Detroit’s casinos, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detroit’s three casinos shut their doors March 16th as part of the state's efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

University of Michigan Poverty Solutions

University of Michigan researchers say Detroiters will need many more protections to protect people from losing their homes in the wake of COVID-19.

The U of M Poverty Solutions paper examines existing housing instability in Detroit, also finding that there’s a shortage of affordable housing in the city, when taking into account blighted and uninhabitable units.

red for rent sign in front of house
karagrubis / Adobe Stock

Back in March, we spoke with a renter, a landlord, and a lender about the domino effect the coronavirus outbreak was having on Michigan's residential rental market. Now, with only a few sectors of the economy going back online, rent coming due, and the governor's eviction ban set to end this month, we decided to check back in on what's happened since the lockdown began. 

Gretchen Whitmer
State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s concerned that “angry rhetoric” may turn into physical violence and turn back progress made to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.

Raul Petri / Unsplash

Stateside for Tuesday, January 22, 2020

Today on Stateside, how a renter, landlord, and lender are being affected by the pandemic. And an update on the story about a man accused by multiple Michigan families of sexually abusing children.

Businesses in Hamtramck, Michigan
Ian Freimuth / creative commons

A longtime leader in Michigan’s business community is predicting it'll take a while for Michigan’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doug Rothwell is the president of Business Leaders for Michigan and a former head of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

On a webinar produced by the Detroit Regional Chamber, Rothwell predicted Michigan’s economy will not have a quick 'V-shaped’ recovery.

COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents in Michigan counties
Brad Gowland / Michigan Radio

Eight weeks ago, only Wayne and Oakland counties had confirmed cases of COVID-19. Now, there are cases in all but five counties.

And while some counties have taken a harder hit than others, it’s difficult to understand the scale of the outbreak in each county solely based on case number. So, we broke it down by the number of cases per 10,000 people.

mackinac island
Andrew Petro / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Mackinac Island, one of Michigan’s largest tourist destinations, is still more than a month away from opening for business due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.

The world-famous Grand Hotel delayed its annual opening another month until June 21, according to the hotel’s booking department.

Capitol Building
Liam James Doyle / NPR

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is hearing from leaders of the Trump administration's coronavirus response about safely reopening the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are among those testifying. Watch the proceedings live beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday May 12.

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday he’s confident that it’s now safe enough to start bringing more city employees back to work, but that’s only because of health and safety measures the city has implemented.

Duggan said the evidence for that lies in recent test results for frontline workers, such as first responders and bus drivers.

MICHIGAN.GOV

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Monday that Michigan is making progress in fighting COVID-19. She noted a decline in the rate of positive cases.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, one couple’s experience of recovery from COVID-19. We hear how they had to relearn everything, from walking to communication. Also, the Michigan Capitol Commission has delayed its decision regarding open carry regulation on statehouse grounds—Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta breaks it down. Plus, a YouTube series of studio visits with some of the state’s most creative minds.

Person in orange jumpsuit sitting behind prison bars
Lightfield Studios / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a growing toll on the lives of state prison inmates. 

As of May 10, 50 inmates have died after contracting the virus. 

The Michigan Department of Corrections is trying to release as many people as possible in response. But a state law called Truth in Sentencing means only some will benefit from that effort.  

Adobe Stock

Some Michigan manufacturing businesses will re-open for production starting Monday. That opens up a whole new set of places where people could potentially become infected with COVID-19.

Some manufacturers have detailed plans for protecting workers. But they’re largely missing one key safeguard: testing.


COVID-19 nearly killed them both: A Michigan couple's journey to hell and back

May 10, 2020
Charlunda and David Thompson
Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press

In sickness and in health, till death do us part ...

They grew feverish together. Both David and Charlunda Thompson were coughing, too. They were indescribably tired.

In Michigan, 23K are ‘recovered’ from COVID. Many still feel like hell.

May 10, 2020
hands on a bed
Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press

As a data point on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, Nancy Blodgett has moved to “recovered.”

And yes, she’s home after getting whomped full-force by COVID-19.

But recovered? Not even close.

Sign that says Flint vehicle city
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of a security guard who refused to allow people into a store because one of them was not wearing a face mask to protect others from potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Calvin James Munerlyn was working security at a Family Dollar in Flint. He allegedly refused to let a woman and her daughter into the store because one of them was not wearing a face mask. Later, two men argued with Munerlyn about the incident. Authorities say one of them allegedly shot Munerlyn in the head, killing him.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell
Atlantic Council / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday that Michigan factories will soon be allowed to resume operations. This is good news for the thousands of auto workers who will now be brought back on the line. But as we've heard this week, it's not a simple process. There are two equally critical aspects of reopening the economy—public health and financial stability.

three roast chickens
Courtesy of Essence Restaurant Group

Today on Stateside,  a conversation with Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about reopening the auto industry. Also, a check-in with a few more of Michigan's small businesses, including a barber shop in Ypsilanti that provides much more than haircuts. 

Treatment and trials go on, but Michigan doctors split on coronavirus drug

May 8, 2020
doctor holding hydroxychloroquine
baranq / Adobe Stock

Thousands of people are being recruited to participate in southeast Michigan clinical trials — touted as among the largest in the country — to test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in the battle against COVID-19.

But since a 3,000-person Detroit trial was announced April 2, an increasing number of reports have shed doubt not only on the drug’s effectiveness, but also its safety. Some warn of potentially deadly changes to the heart’s rhythm — an alarming side effect so widespread the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of a closely-monitored hospital setting or clinical trial.

Emergency room hospital
Pixabay

A Detroit nurse says he was fired for speaking out about COVID-19 related problems in his hospital, adding to the list of several Michigan health care workers who say they faced similar retaliation.   

In a Facebook Live video posted on Wednesday, Sal Hadwan says he was fired from Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. 

“I was called to HR this morning, and basically was told that I’m getting terminated,” he said in the video. “They think I leaked the photos to CNN.

money
user penywise / morgueFile

The head of a Metro Detroit non-profit social services agency that’s in charge of distributing federal stimulus funds says the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people struggling to meet basic needs.

The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency was allotted $11 million in CARES Act funds to distribute to households in Wayne County. $8 million of that is reserved for the city of Detroit.

PAULETTE PARKER/MICHIGAN RADIO

Michigan’s first field hospital is no longer accepting COVID-19 patients, less than a month after opening its doors to the public. COVID-19 hospitalizations are leveling off, and health systems no longer need TCF’s beds as an option for overflow. 

The TCF Regional Care Center, in downtown Detroit, opened on Friday, April 10, and admitted its first patient that Sunday. On May 1, MDHHS confirmed that the field hospital would accept no more transfers, and the final patient was discharged on Wednesday. All told, the hospital cared for 39 people.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

More than 1.2 million people in Michigan are seeking unemployment insurance benefits.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Michigan, about $1.7 billion dollars has been paid out to people unemployed in the state. Of that, about a half-billion dollars came from the state. The rest came from the federal government.  

gretchen whitmer and joneigh khaldun at podium
michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order extending Michigan's stay-at-home order through May 28. It was previously set to expire after May 15.

Logan Chadde

In addition to cancelling sports, movie premieres, and the Olympics, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a number of notable events in Michigan to cancel.

Here is a list of major festivals and events that have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the outbreak.

woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections now stands at just over 45,000 thousand cases according to the state of Michigan.

Lately, the daily number of new cases has been trending downward.

But in a briefing last week, the state’s top Medical Executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun noted an emerging concern.

“To date, the vast majority of cases have still been in Southeast Michigan,” Khaldun said. “However, while the rate of rise is slower in Southeast Michigan, we are seeing an increase in the rate of rise in other parts of the state, particularly in the Western part.”

a michigan absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

All voting would be done by absentee ballot under a bill introduced Wednesday by State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor). The bill would end in-person voting at polling places.

Under the bill, registered voters would return their ballots by mail or drop them off at designated, local sites.

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