Michigan surpasses 2,000 coronavirus deaths and 29,000 positive cases

click to enlarge John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING
Steve Neavling
John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.

Michigan reported 173 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, the second largest one-day increase, bringing the state's total to 2,093.

Nearly 70 of the deaths came in Detroit.

“COVID-19 is real. This is not a game,” Denise Fair, the city’s chief public health officer, said at a news conference Thursday. “COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. It has impacted all of us across all spectrums. We need to take this seriously.”

The state also reported more than 2,100 positive cases, bringing the total to 29,263.

Despite the sharp increases, health officials say there are positive signs that the worst of the coronavirus is almost over. The number of coronavirus-related hospital admissions is declining, and fewer patients are on a ventilator, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“We are in what we are now calling a plateau phase … but that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods," Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group, said in a media call Thursday. “And that doesn’t mean we are dealing with a big drop off in numbers.”

In another positive sign, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the demand for testing at the Michigan State Fairgrounds is beginning to decline.

“It’s all trending in the right direction,” Duggan said at a press conference on Thursday.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who has recovered from the coronavirus, made his first public appearance since he tested positive for COVID-19.

“This unknown enemy that we fight is real, and it affects us all in different ways,” Craig said at the news conference. “If I could leave our viewers with one thing: Fight. Fight. You fight to survive.”

More than half of the state’s new deaths came in Wayne County. With 95 new casualties, the county’s death toll rose to 981, which is more than Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin combined. Wayne County also reported 458 new confirmed infections, bringing its total to more than 13,000.

In Oakland County, there are 5,779 positive cases and 420 deaths, up 28 in the past 24 hours. Macomb County now has 3,992 confirmed infections and 354 deaths, up 24 from Tuesday.

Positive cases have been identified in all but six of the state’s 83 counties.

Outside of metro Detroit, Genesee County has the most deaths, at 99.

The coronavirus has infected and killed a disproportionate number of Black people. Statewide, 41% of the people who have died were Black, while Black people make up 13.6% of the population, and 41% were white, though white people make up 75% of the state's population, and 13% are unknown. Black people make up 33% of positive cases. Another third of the cases are unknown, and white people represent 28% of the confirmed infections.

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 73.3 years old. Of those who died, 1% was 20 to 29, 1% were 30 to 39, 4% were 40 to 49, 10% were 50 to 59, 19% were 60 to 69, 27% were 70 to 79, and 37% were 80 and older.

The death rate is higher for men, who make up 57% of the fatalities but 45% of the positive cases.

Globally, there are 2.1 million coronavirus cases in 185 countries, and more than 141,000 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. The U.S. has more positive cases than any other country in the world, with more than 650,000 confirmed infections and nearly 31,000 deaths.

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