Michigan has 600+ COVID-19 deaths, UW model says peak could be this week

Detroit COVID-19 testing site | City of Detroit photo

As of Sunday, Michigan is on track to hit its peak of COVID-19 deaths in six days. That’s from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

A statewide coronavirus hotline is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136. Information can be found on the DHHS website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website.

Its model shows that Michigan is estimated to have 173 people die of COVID-19 in a single day on Saturday — which would, far and away, be the most the state has reported thus far. A total of 3,169 deaths are estimated by Aug. 4 with social distancing measures in place.

As of 3 p.m. Sunday, the state reports 617 people have now died of COVID-19 in Michigan. That’s increase of 77, as there were 540 deaths as of Saturday.

There are now 15,718 positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, as of Sunday, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher. That’s an increase of 1,493 cases since Saturday, when there were 14,225 reported cases.

IHME calculations for Michigan, April 5, 2020

Michigan had the third-most cases in the nation as of Saturday, per Johns Hopkins University data, running behind only New York and New Jersey.

It’s crucial to note that as the pandemic rapidly evolves, so do these data projections on the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases and deaths. A number of factors — such as how seriously social distancing is taken by residents and how much medical equipment stays available — will affect the actual number of future hospitalizations and subsequent deaths.

The IHME also evaluates medical equipment and hospital beds. As of Sunday, the model shows that Michigan will hit its resource peak on Thursday. The model projects a shortage of 5,167 hospital beds, 1,708 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 1,961 ventilators by that date.

IHME calculations for Michigan, April 5, 2020

The more aggressive COVID Act Now model, which was one that that state officials used in their calculations before Gov. Whitmer issued a stay home order on March 24, shows that hospitals will never get overloaded as long as there’s three months of strict stay home compliance. The model estimates 26,000 deaths.

Republican lawmakers, including state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), don’t want the 70-day extended state of emergency Whitmer has requested or a long stay home order, citing concerns about businesses and the economy.

With only limited action, COVID Act Now’s model shows hospitals hitting their peak on April 16 and 107,000 people dying of the virus.

COVID Act Now’s model as of April 5, 2020

The state shows that 71 of Michigan’s 83 counties have COVID-19 cases and 34 have reported deaths.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Southeast Michigan has had the most cases. Detroit, the only city with its own health department, reported 4,495 cases and 158 deaths. The rest of Wayne County has 3,023 cases and 135 deaths. Macomb County has 2,003 cases and 83 deaths and Oakland County has 3,035 cases and 163 deaths.

The new state-reported numbers only recently began incorporating data from other commercial and private labs and hospitals around Michigan, which caused an apparent spike in numbers that speaks more to the number of cases just now being publicly reported.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins University reports that there are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases worldwide and almost 68,000 deaths. In the United States, there are more than 324,000 confirmed cases and almost 9,200 deaths.

Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.