Joneigh Khaldun | Michigan Radio
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Joneigh Khaldun

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Michigan has achieved its lowest infant mortality rate in the state's recorded history, according to an announcement this week by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Infant mortality is the death of an infant before reaching the age of one. 

The newly released data shows an infant mortality rate of 6.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2019. That's down from a rate of 8.5 per thousand in 2003.

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.

man receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot in his right arm
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State health department officials say they want more COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Michigan with longer hours. 

Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laid out their strategy for getting 70% of Michigan residents vaccinated in the coming months.  The exact timetable is dependent on the supply of vaccines.

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Today on Stateside, Michigan has reached over one million COVID-19 vaccinations. We explore what this milestone means, and the work ahead. Plus, the pandemic cancels another event. This time it’s sled dog race. And, as the virus ripped through the country, misinformation tore through a small U.P. town.

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This weekend, a convoy of trucks rolled out of the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Portage, carrying the first doses of the freshly-FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. As people watched this historic moment, hopes soared  that this could be the beginning of the end of this deadly pandemic. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, was one of those people.

joneigh khaldun at a press conference
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State health officials are watching to see how Thanksgiving holiday gatherings may affect COVID-19 case rates.

The state recommended people avoid gatherings with people from other households. But Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said Tuesday it’s not clear yet how many people ignored that advice.

As COVID cases rise, Whitmer urges social distancing, federal economic relief

Nov 19, 2020

Celebrate separately so you can spend next year’s holiday season “together, alive.”

That was the message from Michigan Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun on Wednesday as she and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave what Whitmer said was their final news conference before Thanksgiving.

“It is very likely,” Khaldun said, “that if you are gathering for Thanksgiving, the virus will also be around the table with you.”

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Flu shot clinics are scheduled at baseball stadiums in Detroit and Lansing Monday and Tuesday. It’s part of a push to get millions of Michiganders vaccinated.

On Friday, state health officials reported nearly 2.4 million Michiganders have received their influenza vaccine this season. The state is more than halfway towards its goal of 4.2 million flu vaccinations. Last year more than three million Michiganders got their flu shot.

State health department officials are imposing new limits on indoor gatherings to curb surging rates of COVID-19.  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is dropping the number of people permitted at indoor gatherings from 500 to 50. This would apply to events like weddings. 

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michigan.gov

The state’s chief medical executive testified Monday before a joint House and Senate committee examining the state’s COVID-19 response.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s Chief Medical Executive, told the committee there will be new COVID-19 public health orders issued soon that don’t require the Legislature’s approval.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer leveled harsh words Thursday against President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

She called Trump “the biggest enemy of the state” over an interview taped by journalist Bob Woodward.

In it, Trump said he downplayed the danger of COVID-19. The governor said, if that is true, the President prolonged the crisis.

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Gyms and pools in Michigan can re-open next week, but with new rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That’s under two executive orders signed Thursday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

She is also allowing organized sports practices and competitions to resume in regions where they’ve been banned.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer is extending the mask requirement to include children as young as two years old in some cases, after several coronavirus outbreaks linked to childcare centers and youth camps.

Gov. Whitmer says by requiring face coverings in her latest executive order, childcare centers and camps can remain open while keeping children and staff members safe.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
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An executive directive signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer declares racism a public health crisis in Michigan.

The directive creates a Black Leadership Advisory Council to identify resources within the executive branch to attack the problem of systemic racism, especially when it comes to health care.

The council will be lead by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. He says the council will identify ways that bias contributes to health disparities.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at a news conference with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
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As Michigan begins to reopen, some counties have seen spikes in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Some people are worried that these recent spikes will send the state back into a shutdown before the summer is over. 

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Michigan’s COVID-19 caseload has been on a rollercoaster for the past few weeks. We spoke with Michigan's medical director Joneigh Khaldun for an update. Plus, researchers at Michigan State University are working on cultivating the ever elusive morel mushrooms. And, we kick off our summer series about how systemic racism shapes the world around us with a conversation about healthcare.

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Today on Stateside, a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the housing market. We talk with an affordable housing expert to find out what the public health crisis means for renters, particularly as expiration dates for eviction moratoriums approach. Also, an update from Michigan’s chief medical officer, with the latest on the state’s response to the pandemic. Plus, a musical love letter to the National Park System.

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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.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer says protests at the state Capitol where demonstrators displayed Confederate flags and swastikas don’t represent most Michiganders. She defended the state and her efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 on national television.

Polls suggest there’s wide support for Whitmer’s handling of the health crisis in the face of protests at the Capitol where some people waved Confederate flags, displayed nooses and swastikas, and many did not follow social distancing rules.

The state of Michigan is expanding testing criteria for suspected COVID-19 cases.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced it is expanding testing criteria for COVID-19 to include individuals with mild symptoms.

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Last week, Michigan received a shipment of personal protective equipment from the national emergency stockpile.

The materials were shipped to all 45 local health departments in the state as well as the state's eight healthcare coalitions, divvied up by population.

But the total was a tiny fraction of what health care workers will need as they face an expected surge in COVID-19 patients. Hospitals across Michigan began accepting and soliciting donations over the weekend.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The current flu season has turned deadly for two Michigan children.

They are the first pediatric flu fatalities of the current influenza season.

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Michigan has recorded its third vaping-related death.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the unidentified adult male died December 19th.

No specific brand of vaping device or e-liquid has been identified as the source of the severe lung damage. Federal health officials have linked an ingredient (Vitamin E acetate) in black-market THC vapes to some cases of severe lung damage.

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Detroit is trying to do more to prevent premature births and infant deaths. The city outlined the new plan Wednesday.

Courtesy of the Detroit Health Department

Detroit activists are highlighting what they say is a growing public health crisis. Today they brought in medical experts from outside the city to discuss the potential health implications of mass water shutoffs in Detroit. They want a moratorium.

“There’s no question that access to safe and clean water from a health perspective is a top priority,” Detroit’s top health officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said.

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Lead poisoning and infant mortality are two of the biggest problems facing Michigan.

Roughly seven babies out of every thousand born in Michigan do not live to their first birthday.