Detroit reports deadliest day yet for coronavirus on Sunday, with 167 deaths so far


  • Steve Neavling

Detroit reported 38 deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday — the largest daily spike so far — bringing the city’s death toll to 167.

The second-highest number of deaths in a day was 21 on March 31. The total number of confirmed infections in the city rose to 4,557, with nearly 600 new cases.


The coronavirus continues to hammer Detroit harder than any other Michigan city. With 6.7% of the state’s population, Detroit has about a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths and confirmed infections.

Statewide, the Black population is getting hit disproportionately hard. Making up 13% of the state’s population, Black people account for more than a third of the infections and 40% of the coronavirus-related deaths.

“We are concerned about how COVID-19 is disproportionately affected Michigan’s black community,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive, tells Metro Times. “There is still much to be learned about this disease, and testing must be expanded in both metro Detroit and the rest of the state so we can get a better understanding of the true incidence. We do know that African Americans in Michigan have higher rates of many chronic illnesses, which is related to underlying social determinants of health such as poverty, education, housing and transportation. These chronic conditions are risk factors for becoming more ill from COVID-19. We will continue to work to get more robust data and testing in the state so we can better understand the disease.”

On Friday, Mayor Mike Duggan warned that New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S., “is our future if we don’t change our behavior.” Duggan said he was alarmed by videos showing Detroiters congregating in large numbers, despite the state's stay-at-home orders.

The city has begun removing basketball rims at parks to discourage clusters of people. Duggan said the city is considering closing parks and even imposing a curfew if people don't stay home.

"If we have to go to a curfew, we will," Duggan said at a press conference Friday.

As of Thursday, 106 Detroit Police Department members, 24 firefighters and medics, and eight Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Another 524 police officers, 126 firefighters, and 133 DDOT employees are under quarantine.

Police Chief James Craig and City Council President Brenda Jones also have confirmed infections.

Beloved DDOT bus driver Jason Hargrove, police department chaplain Valerie Parks, and city inspector Jeremiah Brooks have died in the past few days from the coronavirus.

The respiratory disease has also claimed the lives of the city’s homicide chief, Jonathan Parnell, and a 38-year old dispatcher whose name has not been released.

Other well-known Detroit figures who have died from the coronavirus are state Rep. Isaac Robinson, community activist Marlowe Stoudamire, and Wayne County Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Donafay Collins.

Michigan releases its coronavirus data at 3 p.m. Check back for updates.

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