DETROIT – Nearly 15,000 people in Michigan have died from COVID-19 since the first two cases of the infectious disease were announced almost a year ago.
On March 10, 2020 Michigan confirmed its first two COVID-19 cases. Those cases included an Oakland County woman and Wayne County man who had both reported traveling at the time.
Fast-forward almost a year later and 567,648 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Michigan as of Saturday, including 14,894 deaths to be exact.
It was only a matter of time before COVID-19 made its way to Michigan. Around this time last year, other states had already reported confirmed cases.
Within a short amount of time it eventually spread to every state and as of Sunday killed 462,845 Americans with more than 26.9 million cases reported in the United States alone, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Worldwide, more than 105.8 million people have been confirmed infected and more than 2.3 million have died.
As of Friday, Michigan has confirmed 28 total cases of the COVID-19 B117 variant in Washtenaw and Wayne counties, according to state officials.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Thursday briefing that the variant remains a concern.
“This variant is more easily spread from person to person,” Khaldun said. “If this variant becomes more common, as national experts predict it could, then we could see a very rapid rise in cases and more hospitalizations and deaths.”
As the pandemic continues Michigan like many other parts of the country struggles with vaccine shortages and distribution crucial to ending the pandemic.
In Michigan, more than 1 million vaccines have been administered, Whitmer announced recently.
Still, that is not enough and some of the most vulnerable populations in the state struggle to get vaccinated.
The state has a population of close to 10 million and according to a report in the Associated Press can vaccinate up to 80,000 a day, but supply is limited.
The state’s per-capita vaccination rate was 18th-highest among the 50 states as of Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The AP reported that at the current pace, the state estimates not being able to begin immunizing people in Phase 2 — those age 16 to 64 and not covered under phases 1A, 1B and 1C — until the summer, with their “core” period coming in the final three months of the year.
New COVID-19 cases have plateaued and deaths are starting to slow. Testing has been steady with more than 40,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down to 4.6% as of Thursday. Hospitalizations continue to decline over the last several weeks.
Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,306 on Thursday — the lowest since October. The 7-day death average was 46 on Thursday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 68,700 on Thursday — near the lowest it’s been since November.
On Saturday, the state reported a total of 498,495 recoveries from the virus.
On Feb. 1 Michigan restaurants and bars were able to reopen under tight restrictions after being closed during a partial statewide shutdown for months.
The reopening of bars and restaurants in addition to Super Bowl parties, upcoming Easter holiday and other events could contribute to increased cases.
Michigan Youth contact sports will also be able to resume Monday under new rules.
In the past there has been a pattern of cases trending upward once lockdowns are lifted.
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