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Michigan leaders see hopeful trend in coronavirus outbreak as death toll hits 1,602


Masked up in Detroit. - CITY OF DETROIT
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  • Masked up in Detroit.

State officials said on Monday that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may soon be over, but cautioned that the number of cases and deaths will continue to be high.

“We are starting to see early signs of a plateau in the rate of COVID-19 cases here in the state of Michigan, particularly in southeast Michigan,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, said at a news conference. “Despite the reductions in the rate of growth, there are still many new cases and deaths every single day.”

The state’s death toll rose to 1,602 on Monday, up 115 in the past day. The state averaged 123 deaths over the past eight days. But last month, the number of deaths doubled every two days. Now it’s taking nearly seven days to double.


Despite the progress, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized that the state has a long way to go before she lifts her stay-at-home order, which is currently in effect through April.

“Easing up on social distancing measures too soon would be incredibly devastating,” Whitmer said at a news conference Monday. “A lot more people will die, and hospitals will become overwhelmed.”

Nearly 4,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in Michigan, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Of those, 1,570 are in critical care, and 1,365 are on ventilators.

Michigan has been hit hard by the coronavirus. The state has more deaths than Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana combined. Only New York and New Jersey have more deaths.

Michigan reported 371 new positive cases, bringing its total to nearly 7,000. But the actual number of infections is likely much higher because the state has a severe testing shortage.

Wayne County continues to get hit the hardest. With 18% of the state’s population, Wayne County has nearly half the deaths and confirmed infections. The county reported 56 new deaths, bringing its total to 760. Wayne County now has more than 11,600 positive cases, up 484 in the past day.


Half of the 56 deaths were in Detroit. The city now has 391 total deaths and more than 6,800 cases.

"When you look at the trend lines, we are making tremendous progress," Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference Monday. "So far, the city of Detroit saw one of the quickest spikes in the coronavirus in the country, and it appears so far we are doing an extremely effective job of knocking it back down."

In Oakland County, 347 people have died from COVID-19, up 18 in the past day. The county has more than 5,000 positive cases. Macomb County now has 240 deaths, up 23 in the past day, and more than 3,400 positive cases.

Eleven other Michigan counties have more than 100 confirmed cases: Genesee (988), Washtenaw (736), Kent (311), Ingham (254), Saginaw (293), Livingston (225), Monroe (190), St. Clair (206), Jackson (172), Lapeer (106), Berrien (105).

Outside of metro Detroit, Genesee County has the most deaths, at 77. Kent and Saginaw follow with 13 deaths apiece.

The coronavirus has infected and killed a disproportionate number of Black people. Statewide, Black people represent 13.6% of the state's population and 39% of the deaths, while white people make up 75% of the state's population and 36% of the deaths. Another 19% are unknown. Of those with confirmed infections, 33% are Black, 27% white, and 31% unknown.

The coronavirus has infected people of all ages: 1% are 0 to 19 years old, 9% are 20 to 29, 13% are 30 to 39, 16% are 40 to 49, 20% are 50 to 59, 18% are 60 to 69, 13% are 70 to 79, and 10% are 80 and older.

The youngest person to die was 20, and the oldest was 107, with an average age of death at 73.1 years old. Of those who died, 1% was 20 to 29, 1% were 30 to 39, 5% were 40 to 49, 10% were 50 to 59, 19% were 60 to 69, 28% were 70 to 79, and 36% were 80 and older.

The death rate is higher for men, who make up 57% of the fatalities but 46% of the positive cases.

Globally, there are 1.9 million coronavirus cases in 185 countries, and more than 118,000 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. The U.S. has more positive cases than any other country in the world, with more than 572,000 confirmed infections and 23,078 deaths.

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