Flu Vaccination Rates Increase as COVID Vaccine Authorization Pends

The flu vaccine has been increasingly stressed this year to thwart a winter where COVID-19 and the flu run rampant. In Michigan, 350,021 people had already tested positive for COVID as of Nov. 28 and while a vaccine is expected to be available soon, it is not here yet. Currently, the best chance to avoid contracting COVID is to remain at home whenever possible and wear masks and maintain a distance from others when needing to leave the house. With the flu though, a vaccine is available, and has been available prior to every flu season for decades.

For the 2020-21 flu season, 198 million flu shots have been made available to the public, an increase from 175 million last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the Washington Post, national pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens have reported demand for the flu vaccine is higher this year than in years past, even double in same cases. However, according to the data from the Michigan Department of Health and Services there was no county in Southeastern Michigan where even half of the adult population had received the flu vaccine for the 2019-20 flu season.

Washtenaw County had the highest percentage of adults who received the flu vaccine at 42 percent last year, followed by Oakland County where 41 percent of the adult population received the flu vaccine. St. Clair County had among the lowest percentage of adult residents who received the flu vaccine last year at 25 percent. The City of Detroit had the lowest percentage though at 13 percent.

The CDC recommends everyone above the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine, with rare exceptions. While the flu vaccine is widely recommended for nearly all ages, those with compromised immune systems and above the age of 65 tend to be the most targeted populations for vaccination. According to the CDC, between 70 and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group. With such data, it would make sense that the counties with the highest population of older adults would also have among the highest flu vaccination rates. However, that is not that case.

In Southeastern Michigan, St. Clair County has the highest population of adults 65 years of age or older at 19.5 percent and a 25 percent flu vaccination rate for adults, the lowest in the region. In Washtenaw County 14.5 percent of the population is made up of older adults, among the lowest percentage in the region (Detroit’s older adult population makes up 13 percent of its population and 13 percent of the adult population received the flu vaccine last year) yet it has the highest flu vaccination rate.

The flu vaccine for the current flu season is still available, but attention has certainly shifted in recent weeks to the availability of a COVID vaccine. According to media reports, Moderna applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for authorization of its COVID vaccine Monday and Pfizer applied for emergency authorization of its COVID vaccine last Friday. According to CNN, the FDA is scheduled to meet with its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Dec.10 to review Pfizer’s application and on Dec. 17 to review Moderna’s application. If approved, millions of doses of the vaccines could be shipped around the US by mid-December. According to media reports, about 6.4 million Pfizer vaccines will be distributed throughout the US by mid-December and about 20 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available by the end of 2020. The CDC will make the recommendation on who should get the shots first; it is likely healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be recommended to get vaccinated first.

For Michigan, Henry Ford Hospital estimate that as early as Dec. 12 vaccines can begin to be distributed. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan expects that 5,000 residents will need to be vaccinated a day for 3-4 months to ensure the City’s population is vaccinated.

While we wait for a COVID vaccine to be approved and distributed, it is imperative we take additional steps to maintain our health, such as receiving a flu vaccine. The data from the State shows that not even half of the adult population in Michigan received one last year (the State average is 32 percent); we must do better at becoming vaccinated against COVID once vaccines are widely available. The flu is deadly; up to 62,000 people died from it last year, according to the CDC. However, 267,000 people have already been killed by COVID in the US and it hasn’t even been an active virus in the US for a year.

Where are the Deer at in Southeastern Michigan?

There are about 2 million deer in the State of Michigan and they are most active in the spring and fall at dusk and dawn. Such activity, especially in areas more heavily populated by deer and vehicles, can be attributed to thousands of deer-vehicle crashes a year. According to Michigan Traffic Facts, in Southeastern Michigan in 2019 Oakland County had the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes at 1,836. It is estimated by data3 from ArcGIS that Oakland County has a deer population of about 13,000, or 15 deer per square mile. Regionally, Livingston County has the highest deer population at about 25,400, or 45 deer per square mile. According to the data, there were 905 deer-vehicle crashes in Livingston County in 2019. Wayne County reported the fewest number of crashes in 2019 at 499; Wayne County’s deer population is estimated to be about 9,200 per square mile.

Washtenaw County data is forth coming.

While the size of a deer population plays a role in the number of deer-vehicle crashes in a county, so does the amount of traffic and how their living environment has been impacted. The Average Annual Daily Traffic map from the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments shows that Livingston County has far less daily traffic than Oakland County. So, while Livingston County may have a higher deer population than Oakland County, the amount of traffic clearly plays a role. Also, according to the Michigan State Police, 80 percent of deer-vehicle crashes occur on two-lane roads.

As areas further develop, deer and humans are also interacting more, particularly as deer become more comfortable with their new neighbors. Backyard gardens, bird feeders and other items the deer prefer to munch on also bring them more in contact with humans, and the areas they live in—including their roadways–as they look for easily accessible areas to eat.

Deer-vehicle crashes may not be entirely avoidable but there are solutions to at least curb them. Such ways to avoid crashes with a deer include:

  • Watching the sides of the road as you drive, particularly in low visibility or tall grasses and woods near the road;
  • Being aware for groups of deer. If one deer crosses the road there is a good chance more may cross as they tend to travel in groups;
  • Using high beams at night (when possible) to help see farther ahead and to identify the eye-shine of a deer;
  • Avoiding swerving around a deer, instead break firmly and honk the horn;
  • Slowing down.

Government entities can also help curb the amount of deer-vehicle crashes by:

  • Enforcing speed limits;
  • Installing fences 8 feet or higher in high deer traffic areas to keep them off the road;
  • Studies to identify frequently used pathways of deer and setting up warning signs for drivers.
  • Installing specific devices that warn deer of oncoming traffic to scare them away from the road.

Oakland County’s COVID Numbers Surpass Wayne County

Michigan reported 5,772 new COVID cases on Nov. 18, 2020, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 277,806. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of confirmed COVID cases on Nov. 16 was 264,884–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report. This chart also shows that the curve continues to increase at a much higher rate than previously.

Chart 2 shows that on Nov. 16, according to the five-day rolling average, Oakland County reported the highest number of confirmed COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan at 32,190; Oakland County surpassed Wayne County as having the highest number of confirmed cases on Nov. 11. Wayne County reported the second highest number of cases on Nov. 16 at 31,527. Macomb County reported 28,088 COVID cases on Nov. 16 and Detroit reported 17,893.

As shown in Chart 3, new daily numbers continue to spike above early daily highs, although there has been a decrease in the last few days. Wayne County reported the highest number of new daily confirmed cases on Nov. 16 at 93, followed by Macomb County with 92 new confirmed cases and Oakland County with 91. Detroit reported 43 new daily confirmed COVID cases on Nov. 16. These numbers are also based on a five-day rolling average.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data were supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State. Additionally, the case totals do not reflect the number of people who have recovered, just those who have been infected. In early June the State changed how it reports its data on the website, making data more accurate in the long-term but more complicated to track as well. The State regularly updates older data and as we continue to publish regular updates on COVID the State’s changes to past data many not always be reflected in our posts. The data published in new posts is accurate for the day we received it on though.

The chart below (Chart 4) shows that Macomb County has the highest number of COVID confirmed cases per capita. According to the data released on Nov. 18, Macomb County had 33,506 COVID cases per million people. Wayne County had the second highest number of confirmed cases per million people at 31,496. Detroit had 12,068 confirmed COVID cases per million people; no other counties in the region had fewer number of cases per capita.

In Chart 5, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 8,078 on Nov. 16. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on Nov. 18 was 8,190, an increase of 62 deaths from the prior day. Chart 6 (a five-day rolling average) shows that on Nov. 16, the City of Detroit reported 1,565 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,389 deaths on Nov. 16. Death related numbers overall remain flat, however hospitalizations are rapidly increasing according to Bureau of Epidemiology at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Sarah Lyon-Callo.

Yesterday (Nov. 18) marked the beginning of a three week pause on certain operations such as indoor dining, high school and college in-person learning and recreational activities such as movie theater going and indoor skating. This pause is meant to slow the spread of the virus in Michigan, which has been particularly rampant the last several weeks. Currently,  Michigan has sixth highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the fifth highest number of deaths.  A pause will not suffice in slowing the spread though; continued diligence in wearing a mask, washing hands, keeping a distance from others and not participating in group activities it what is truly needed to bring new daily case numbers back down.

Local Government Budgets Not Out of the Woods Yet

The coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan in March and quickly came emergency orders triggering school, government and business closings. This left many concerned about the potential economic impact on these industries and sectors and beyond. These concerns still loom today, especially as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just announced a three week pause of in-person learning for high schools and universities, indoor dining, operations for casinos and movie theaters and other forms of recreation to help slow the rampant spread of the virus.

Local county government have adapted, however, approving or recommending balanced budgets, in most cases, despite early economic concerns. Much of this is because of actions taken by the counties themselves, such as hiring freezes and furloughs, coupled with COVID-19 funding passed down by the federal and/or state governments. COVID-19 funding comes with stipulations on spending, while it also frees up general fund monies for other expenses. 

On Aug. 31 it was announced by the State of Michigan that $150 million in Coronavirus Relief Local Government Grants (CRLGG) program funds would be administered to county and municipal governments through the State of Michigan Treasury Department. Below we show how much each county in Southeastern Michigan received through the CRLGG program. These funds replace the statutory revenue sharing payments that local governments would have normally received for the month of September. Counties, cities, townships and villages receive an annual amount of revenue sharing but those payments come in monthly; the CRLGG funds are about 150 percent of the amount local governments would have received for their September amount. 

In addition to CRLGG funding a handful of counties, and the City of Detroit, received direct CARES Act funding from the federal government early in the pandemic, the City of Detroit received $117 million, Wayne County $197 million, Oakland County $219 million, Macomb County received $152 million and Kent County received $115 million. In addition to the State of Michigan receiving $3 billion from the CARES Act funding.

Just as with CRLGG funding, CARES Act monies must also be used on CARES Act stipulated expenses. Such approved expenses include: personal protective equipment, public safety items and personnel, public health items and personnel, social services and items related to emergency management and communications. Also, under both programs, any funds used on non-eligible expenses or not used by Dec. 30, 2020, must be returned by Jan. 30, 2021.

Despite counties such as Oakland, Wayne and expectedly Macomb passing balanced budgets with minimal funding cuts, and monies still in the fund balance, losses in government employment continue. According to the National Association of Counties, about 1.4 million local government jobs were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, and of those 451,000 have since been restored. However, this means that 939,000 jobs have yet to be restored to reach pre-pandemic levels. NACO also noted that state and federal job levels are being restored at a faster rate than local government jobs levels. Data for the State of Michigan on local government employment was not available. 

Overall, while supplemental funds have been sent to aid local governments we must be aware and concerned of the potential long-term effects of this pandemic on government services, and of course the overall economy. Government entities are primarily funded by property taxes; revenues from the state and federal governments, services, special tax levies, also impact a government unit’s budget. Declines in property value driven by an economic downtown would not show up just yet on government units’ tax rolls, meaning the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 recession have yet to be seen. If government revenue declines so do the services it can support, including public health, social services and public safety. We are still weathering this storm on a local, national and global front. As COVID case numbers continue to increase rapidly actions are being taken to curb that spread. Complaints rise as shutdowns occur. However, greater responsibility on mask-wearing, social distancing and limiting interaction with others could also help curb the spread, and result in less stringent mandates that directly impact the economy.  

Michigan COVID New Daily Numbers Continue To Rise

Michigan reported 6,008 new COVID cases on Nov. 11, 2020, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 229,285. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of confirmed COVID cases on Nov. 8 was 212,437–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report. This chart also shows that the curve has begun to increase at a much higher rate than previously.

Chart 2 shows that, based on the five-day rolling averages, the growth of new COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan is reflective of the statewide trend that daily case numbers are increasing at a higher rate than previously. However, when COVID-19 first hit Michigan in March of 2020 Detroit was reporting the highest numbers for a municipality and/or a county. Now, as Nov. 8, Wayne County reported the highest number of confirmed COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan at 27,198 followed by Oakland County with 27,042 confirmed cases. Macomb County reported 23,361 COVID cases on Nov. 8, and Detroit reported 16,614.

As shown in Chart 3, Macomb County reported the highest number of new daily confirmed cases on Nov. 8 at 223, followed by Oakland County with 209 new confirmed cases and Wayne County with 195. Detroit reported 52 new daily confirmed COVID cases on Nov. 8. These numbers are also based on a five-day rolling average.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data were supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State. Additionally, the case totals do not reflect the number of people who have recovered, just those who have been infected. In early June the State changed how it reports its data on the website, making data more accurate in the long-term but more complicated to track as well. The State regularly updates older data and as we continue to publish regular updates on COVID the State’s changes to past data many not always be reflected in our posts. The data published in new posts is accurate for the day we received it on though.

The chart below (Chart 4) highlights how Wayne County not only has the highest number of confirmed total COVID cases in the region (this data does not include Detroit’s numbers) it also has the highest number of confirmed cases per capita. According to the data released on Nov. 11, Wayne County had 31,496 COVID cases per million people. Macomb County had the second highest number of confirmed cases per million people at 28,089. Detroit had 11,242 confirmed COVID cases per million people; no other counties in the region had fewer number of cases per capita.

In Chart 5, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 7,607 on Nov. 8. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on Nov. 11 was 7,766, an increase of 42 deaths from the prior day. Chart 6 (a five-day rolling average) shows that on Nov. 8, the City of Detroit reported 1,556 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,370 deaths on Nov. 8. Although the curved has flatted for the number of COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan, state health officials are predicting those numbers to begin to increase at a more rapid rate again. For example, Spectrum Health on the west side of the state reported more COVID related deaths in the last three weeks and that they are preparing to hit capacity with COVID patients, according to a Detroit News article.

Michigan’s new daily COVID numbers continue to increase at a rapid rate. Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 11 new daily case numbers in Michigan went from 681 to 6,008. Although new daily case numbers are higher now than they were in April, some new trends have emerged. For example, the 20-29 age group leads with the most number of cases, and college campuses over the last several weeks have been experiencing large outbreaks. Even with demographics shifting since the spring, community spread is occurring, the numbers are increasing at a rapid rate, and hospitals are once again nearing capacity. Furthermore, positive COVID test rates have increased to 11.4 percent statewide; last month Michigan averaged a positive test rate of about 3.7 percent.

As all the data points to the fact that we are in the second-wave, it is vital that masks be worn in public and inside, social distance from others be maintained and gatherings be avoided.

COVID Continues to Impact Michigan Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the national, statewide and local economy. This will most certainly continue as new daily case numbers continue to rise. On Nov. 9, 2020 the State of Michigan reported 216,804 confirmed COVID cases, between Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services estimated that was an average of 4,505 new COVID cases a day. Although Gov. Gretchen Whitmer does not have the executive powers she once did, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies, have the ability to institute certain mandates. Currently, several—but certainly not all — businesses remain open, but scrutiny on safety precautions to slow the spread is increasing.

Current unemployment rates are discussed in this post to show one facet of the economic impact the pandemic has had on the economy. In future posts we will continue to dig into the other economic impacts of the virus, and also how local governments have fared with federal and state aide.

In September of 2020 the unemployment rates for the State of Michigan and for the City of Detroit declined from recent record highs as a result of COVID-19. However, unemployment rates remain higher now than at this time last year. The State of Michigan reported an unemployment rate of 8.2 in September, a lower rate than what was reported in August, which was 8.9. The State unemployment rate for September of 2019 was 3.5. In September of 2008, when the Great Recession was just getting underway, the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent.

For the City of Detroit, the unemployment rate for September of 2020 was 20.4, which is only slightly lower than the August rate of 20.9. In September of 2019 the unemployment rate was 8.1.

The data above shows a story that we are all familiar with now, the pandemic has had a direct affect on our economy locally and statewide. Another image the data highlights though is that the unemployment gap between the State and Detroit has grown wider since the pandemic hit. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was recently quoted in the Detroit Free Press saying women, minorities and low-income workers are suffering the most in this downturn. Detroit is home to the largest black population in the state and also has among the highest percentage of residents who live at or below the poverty level.

The chart below displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for September of 2019 and 2020. In September of 2020 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.5. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 5. Each county though had a higher unemployment rate in September of this year compared to September of 2019. Just as Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate it also had the largest increase between 2019 and 2020; in that year it increased 7.1 points. Washtenaw County had the lowest increase at 1.7 points.

In addition to COVID impact employment rates, it has also impacted the housing stock and sale and rental rates. According to a recent Detroit Free Press article, housing prices continue to increase due a high demand but low stock of homes, low mortgage rates and also the fact that the early shutdown of the economy pushed the spring home selling season farther out into summer and now fall.

The chart below shows the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled. While it does show an increase in average home prices, it has yet to reflect those of late summer and early fall.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $132,460 in July of 2020; this was $131 higher than the average family dwelling price in June. The July 2020 price was an increase of $3,240 from July of 2019.

Looking Back: Voter Turnout in Southeastern Michigan’s Past Presidential Elections

Voting matters, and so does voter turnout. 

While record breaking turnout is expected for tomorrow’s election, we won’t know the results for a few days still. However, past data and current polls can help put this into context. So, we are re-examining the voter turnout change between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential Elections.

In 2016 Republican areas in Southeastern Michigan experienced marginally increased turnout between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. The focus of that increase was southern Macomb County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Conversely, the traditionally Democratic areas in Wayne County experienced some of the largest voter turnout decreases. Detroit saw especially large decreases.

In Macomb County, 15 communities experienced voter turnout increase, with increases ranging between 2.5 and 0.06 percent. Ray Township experienced the largest voter increase at 2.5 percent. Another interesting community that experienced voter turnout increase was St. Clair Shores; this city that flipped from Democratic to Republican, and here voter turnout increased by 1.6 percent. There were also eight of the communities that experienced a voter turnout decrease between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. It was Chesterfield Township that experienced the largest decrease in the county at 5.35 percent. Although Warren and Sterling Heights have been noted for having several precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two Presidential elections, both cities had areas that remained Democratic in 2016. Sterling Heights experienced a 2.7 percent voter turnout decrease in 2016 and Warren experienced a 1.5 percent decrease.

We have previously  highlighted how in Oakland County higher income communities like Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham flipped from being Republican in the 2012 presidential election to Democratic in the 2016 election. These communities though experienced a voter turnout decrease between the two elections, as did majority of the Oakland County communities that went Democratic in 2016. With the exceptions of Ferndale, Madison Heights and Clawson, all of the Democratic communities experienced a voter turnout decrease in 2016. Ferndale had the largest voter turnout increase in the county at 11.6 percent while Berkley had the largest decrease at 23.7 percent.

Wayne County communities experienced some of the largest decreases in voter turnout in 2016, with Inkster experiencing a 26 percent decrease, River Rouge experiencing a 23 percent decrease and Redford and Detroit experiencing 11 percent decreases, each. Again, these communities all went Democratic in the 2016 election; they also went Democratic in the 2012 election.

Throughout much of Downriver, an area that flipped from Democratic to Republican in 2016, an increase in voter turnout occurred. Rockwood had the largest increase at 7 percent. The city of Flat Rock did flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, but experienced a 16.36 percent voter turnout decrease.

Hamtramck and Highland Park experienced the largest voter turnout increases in Wayne County; Hamtramck had a 12 percent increase and Highland Park had an 11 percent increase. Both cities went Democratic in the 2012 and 2016 elections.

In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest voter turnout increase at 3.37 percent; this community went Democratic in both elections. The only Washtenaw County community that went Democratic in the 2016 election and experienced a voter turnout increase was Sylvan Township; it had a 0.37 percent increase. There were, however, several Republican communities in Washtenaw County  that experienced voter turnout increases. For example, Northfield Township experienced a 19.6 percent voter turnout increase.

Overall, the data comparing the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections show there were very few communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced large voter turnout increases (above 10 percent). The marginal increases though occurred in areas that went Republican in the 2016 Presidential election, particularly in northern Macomb County, St. Clair County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Voter turnout for this election will certainly impact the results. 

According to the Michigan Secretary of State there are more than 8 million registered voters in the State of Michigan as of Nov. 1, 2020. Additionally, 6.76 million of those are considered active voters, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. Election officials are expecting the Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential Election to be record breaking in terms of the number of ballots cast, and as of late last week Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said more than 2.6 million Michigan residents had already cast a ballot, while about 3.3 million absentee ballots have been requested. Have questions about voter registration, your ballot or your polling location? Click here

Past Election Recaps: Southeastern Michigan

The Presidential Election is nearly two weeks away and according to FiveThirtyEight.com, a website focused on polling analysis, Presidential Democratic nominee Joe Biden is currently 7.6 points ahead in the polls over President Donald Trump, the Republic candidate running for re-election. Furthermore, the website predicts that Biden will win the state of Michigan. However, it was just a little over four years ago that Trump won the State of Michigan, turning a formerly blue state red. Trump won over then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 0.23 percent of the popular vote. Overall, Trump took 47.5 percent of the total votes and Clinton took 47.3 percent of the vote. In 2012 though President Barack Obama, the then Democratic candidate up for re-election, won Michigan, helping assure his second term in the White House.

As the election nears we find it important to show you what areas in Southeastern Michigan voted for the Republican and Democratic nominees in both 2012 and 2016 and what areas flipped between those two elections. In the 2016 map we see that Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs (Ferndale, Royal Oak, parts of Warren, etc.), along with Ann Arbor and its surrounding cities to the east and west, had Clinton as the winning candidate. There was also a pocket in the City of Monroe that went to Clinton. However, a large share of the region went to Trump, including all of Livingston and St. Clair counties and majority of Macomb and nearly all of Monroe counties. Of course, Macomb County made national news as a strong reason why Michigan went to Trump in the 2016 election. Monroe County also made a significant switch between 2012 and 2016.

In 2012 we know that the State of Michigan went to Obama and that majority of the popular vote in Southeastern Michigan did the same.  For example, in Macomb County 47.5 percent of the vote went to then Republican nominee Mitt Romney and 51.5 percent went to Obama, according to the election results. In Wayne County 73 percent of the vote went to Obama while 26 percent went to Romney, according to election results. For Oakland County in 2012 then-Republican nominee (Romney) received 45 percent of the vote and the Democratic nominee (Obama) received 54 percent of the vote, according to county election results.

Now, when comparing the 2012 and 2016 results Macomb and Monroe counties are the two to focus on because of their flips between the last two elections. When drilling down into Macomb County we see that the central portion of Sterling Heights, the northern portion of Warren, majority of St. Clair Shores and pockets of precincts in Lenox, Chesterfield, Clinton, Harrison, Richmond and Shelby townships and in the cities of Fraser, Utica and Roseville flipped from Democratic to Republican precincts between the 2012 and 2016 elections. There was not one precinct in Macomb County that switched from Republican to Democrat between the 2012 and 2016 elections, according to county election results. Overall, in 2016 53.6 percent of the vote went to Trump in Macomb County while in 2012 47.5 percent of the vote went to then Republican nominee Romney, according to the election results. In Monroe County we see that the city of Monroe and Dundee, London, Erie, Exeter, Berlin and Rainsville townships switched from Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016. Similar to Macomb, there were no precincts in Monroe County that had the reverse switch, going from Republican in 2012 to Democratic in 2016. In Monroe County in 2016 58.4 percent of the votes went to Trump, according to the election results.

For Wayne County, while overall it went to Clinton in 2016 nearly all of the Downriver region (Trenton, Woodhaven, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Rockwood, Brownstown, Riverview and portions of Wyandotte, Southgate, Taylor and Allen Park) switched from voting Democratic in the 2012 election to going for the Republican Presidential nominee (Trump) in 2016. Additionally, all of Garden City made that switch, as did portions of Huron, Sumpter and Van Buren townships, along with areas in Westland, Romulus and Livonia. Overall in Wayne County in 2016, 66 percent of the vote went to Democratic nominee Clinton and 29 percent went to Trump, according to the official Wayne County election results.

In Oakland County, overall, 44 percent of the voters voted for the Republican nominee (Trump) and 52 percent voted for the Democratic nominee (Clinton) in 2016, according to county elections results. In 2016, there were pockets of precincts-primarily in the Bloomfield-Birmingham area-that switched from Republican to Democratic and Birmingham made that switch nearly in its entirety.

Washtenaw County, unlike Macomb and Monroe counties, had several precincts in 2016 that switched from being Republican in 2012 to being Democratic in 2016. All precincts in Lima and Sylvan townships switched from Republican in 2012 to Democratic in 2016, and about half of the precincts in Dexter and Lodi townships did the same. Augusta and Lyndon townships did the opposite, switching from Democratic to Republican between the two elections.

Of course, while this data and the accompanying maps show the results of the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections for Southeastern Michigan, for the upcoming election nothing will be decided until at least Nov. 3. It is our right and our duty to vote for the next president, and each and every vote matters.

Michigan’s New Daily COVID Numbers Continue to Rise Above 1,000

Michigan reported 1,586 new COVID cases on Oct. 20, 2020, bringing the total number of cases reported to 149,392. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of COVID cases on Oct. 18 was 145,751–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report.

Chart 2 shows that, based on the five-day rolling averages, the growth of new COVID cases in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties continues to increase at higher rates than the other counties in the region and than Detroit. On Oct. 18, Wayne County reported the highest number of cases in the region at 20,322. Oakland County reported 18,589 cases and Macomb County reported 16,065. Detroit reported 14,969 COVID cases on Oct. 18; Macomb County surpassed the total number of confirmed cases in Detroit on Oct. 6. While the more densely populated areas in the region have the highest number of confirmed cases, Washtenaw County has pulled away from the other more rural counties in with higher numbers as well. Washtenaw County reported 4,190 confirmed cases on Oct. 18.

As shown in Chart 3, Oakland County reported the highest number of new daily confirmed cases on Oct. 18 at 94, followed by Wayne County with 78 new confirmed cases and Macomb County with 73. Washtenaw County reported 35 new daily confirmed COVID cases on Oct. 18 while Detroit reported 21. These numbers are also based on a five-day rolling average.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data were supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State. Additionally, the case totals do not reflect the number of people who have recovered, just those who have been infected. In early June the State changed how it reports its data on the website, making data more accurate in the long-term but more complicated to track as well. The State regularly updates older data and as we continue to publish regular updates on COVID the State’s changes to past data many not always be reflected in our posts. The data published in new posts is accurate for the day we received it on though.

The chart below (Chart 4) highlights how Wayne County not only has the highest number of confirmed total COVID cases in the region (this data does not include Detroit’s numbers) it also has the highest number of confirmed cases per capita. According to the data released on Oct. 20, Wayne County had 23,598 COVID cases per million people. Macomb County had the second highest number of confirmed cases per million people at 19,351. Detroit had 10,019 confirmed COVID cases per million people; the only two counties in the region with few number of cases per capita were Livingston and St. Clair counties.

In Chart 5, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 6,996 on Oct. 18. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on Oct. 20 was 7,053, an increase of 22 deaths from the prior day, with one of those deaths being added to the total through death record reviews. Chart 6 (a five-day rolling average) shows that on Oct. 18, the City of Detroit reported 1,546 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,309 deaths on Oct. 18. Although the curved has flattened for the number of COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan, the numbers are still growing, just at a much slower pace.

COVID-19 numbers in Michigan continue to increase at a quicker rate than what has occurred in months. Classrooms and gatherings some of the main areas where outbreaks are occurring. According to the State of Michigan, as of Oct. 15, there were outbreaks in 84 Michigan school buildings in 31 counties. Overall, between Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 there was a 25 percent increase in K-12 classroom outbreaks. Furthermore, universities are also seeing increases in the student population contracting COVID. To slow the spread within this community some universities and local health departments are taking their own precautions. For example, the Washtenaw County Health Department just issued a 2-week stay at home order for University of Michigan undergraduate students to curb the spread. In Washtenaw County last week the number of new confirmed and probable COVID cases increased by more than 600. 

As the daily number of confirmed COVID cases continue to increase by more than 1,000 daily we must continue practice the mandates set forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which includes wearing masks, remaining socially distant and limiting social gatherings.

A Look At Michigan’s Local Income Taxes

In the State of Michigan local governments have the ability to levy a local income tax on those who live and/or work in the municipality. There are 24 municipalities in Michigan that levy a local income tax for residents, non-residents and corporations. According to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck were the first two municipalities in the state to levy local income taxes in 1962. As of 2018 Detroit levied at 2.4 percent income tax on residents and a 1.2 percent income tax on non-residents. In Hamtramck, a 1 percent income tax was levied on residents and a 0.5 percent income tax was levied on non-residents. According to Michigan tax law, and as is shown, non-residents cannot be taxed more than 50 percent of the local income taxed on residents. 

According to Michigan tax law, in general, a 1 percent income tax can be charged on residents and corporations and a 0.5 percent income tax can be changed to non-residents earned in the imposing city. The city council in cities over 600,000 (Detroit) may impose rates of up to 2.4 percent on residents, 2 percent on corporations and 1.2 on non-residents. Furthermore, a city that levied an income tax and where more than 22 mills had been levied for city purposes and at least 65 mills for all purposes during the prior calendar year is allowed to impose local income tax rates of up to 2 percent on residents and corporations and 1 percent on non-residents if approved by voters before Nov. 15, 1988. Additionally, cities that levied an income tax before March 30, 1989, and with (a) populations between 140,000 and 600,000 (Grand Rapids); or (b) populations between 65,000 and 100,000 in a county with a population below 300,000 (Saginaw) may increase the tax rate to not more than 1.5 percent on residents and corporations and 0.75 percent on nonresidents if approved by voters. 

According to the State of Michigan, Detroit has the highest income tax at 2.4 percent, followed by the City of Highland Park at 2 percent (both of which are imposed on residents). A 2 percent local income tax was imposed on corporations in Detroit and Highland Park as recent as 2018, according to the Citizens Research Council. 

 In 2017 (most recent data available) Detroit levied about $292.7 million through its local income tax on residents, non-residents and corporations; Hamtramck levied $2.3 million Grand Rapids and Sagniaw each levied 1.5 percent income taxes on residents and corporations. Grand Rapids levied the second highest amount in local income taxes at about $94 million. Of course, the amount each city levies is not only dependent on the amount levied by the three groups but also by the population of who lives there, who works there and what businesses are there. 

In addition to the cities above the, the following cities issue income taxes of 1 percent on residents and corporations:

  • Albion
  • Battle Creek
  • Benton Harbor
  • Big Rapids
  • East Lansing
  • Flint
  • Grayling
  • Hamtramck
  • Hudson
  • Ionia
  • Jackson
  • Lansing
  • Lapeer
  • Muskegon
  • Muskegon Heights
  • Pontiac
  • Port Huron
  • Portland
  • Springfield
  • Walker

The city that earned the lowest amount in a local income tax is Hudson at about $484,000.

In addition to the cities discussed above, the City of Mount Clemens has also discussed levying a local income tax to earn more local revenue. Mount Clemens is the county seat in Macomb County, which employs about 2,000 county employees. Local income taxes are a means for a local government to generate additional revenue. And, while it helps the local governments–especially ones who lack additional means to levy revenue–it also impacts those who live in the municipality and those who work and/or own a business there.