Michigan could see more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths, according to study

Mar 29, 2020 at 10:50 am
click to enlarge Michigan could see more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths, according to study

The U.S. could see 81,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, with more than 4,000 here in Michigan, according to a University of Washington study.

The analysis projects Michigan's peak resource use date will come April 8. At that time, we'll need 20,717 hospital beds and 3,306 intensive care unit beds. But there are only 10,154 hospital beds and 742 ICU beds available, according to the analysis.

On Saturday, officials announced Detroit's North American International Auto Show, which had been moved to the summer for the first time, would be canceled in order to transform the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall) into a massive FEMA field hospital for overflow patients.

"The State of Michigan is working around the clock and doing everything we can to slow the spread of the coronavirus," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "We are proud to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and the TCF Center to expand capacity in Detroit. By mobilizing quickly to construct a large alternate care facility in Detroit, we can help save lives."

According to a statement from the governor's office, the TCF Center site will provide an additional 900 beds.

The Army Corps of Engineers was also assessing potential overflow sites at the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center and two Wayne State University dormitories in Detroit, according to The Detroit News.

Detroit's coronavirus infection rate is among the nation's highest, exceeded only by the greater New York City area and New Orleans. Nearly a third of all of the state's positive coronavirus cases are in Detroit, even though the city has less than 10 percent of the state’s population.

Also on Saturday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for all water service to be restored statewide to residents who have had it shut off due to delinquent bills. Officials say the best way to fight the spread of the disease is frequent and thorough hand-washing.

The University of Washington model assumes the continuation of strong social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus. On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on residents to stay home as much as possible for up to three weeks.

But on Saturday, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the U.S. could see 100,000 to 200,000 coronavirus deaths.

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