Black Population in Southeastern Michigan has Lowest Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is a key metric in measuring public health and the chart below shows the life expectancy for everyone and then the white, black and Hispanic populations by race in Southeastern Michigan in 2019. The blue column shows what the average life expectancy was for all races in Southeastern Michigan, with Washtenaw County having the highest overall life expectancy at 84 years of age and Wayne County having the lowest at 75 years of age. The life expectancy for those in Michigan is 78 years of age.

When comparing life expectancy at the racial level in Southeastern Michigan we see that the black population had the lowest life expectancy across all counties while the Hispanic population typically had a higher life expectancy. Furthermore, Washtenaw County had the highest life expectancy for all of the populations examined, with the exception of the black population. In Washtenaw County, the life expectancy for the Hispanic population was 86; it was 76 for the black population and 82 for the white population.

Wayne County had the lowest life expectancy across all populations examined. In Wayne County, the life expectancy for the Hispanic population was 80, it was 72 for the black population and 77 for the white population.

For Livingston County, data was not available for the black population. Oakland County had the highest life expectancy for the black population at 77. This data is from the Centers for Disease Control 2019 Health Survey.

This data further highlights facts we all know; race and ethnicity do impact one’s life expectancy, as does where an individual lives, their education levels, income and genetic pre-dispositions. Of course, race often plays a factor into these factors as well. As we continue to explore health disparities it is vital to understand how underlying factors play a role in them and for us to determine how to create further equity in those too.

Such policies are certainly a tangled web, but their impacts are vast and have a direct impact on an individual’s life. Looking at the impact COVID-19 had on the black population in Michigan is an example of this. In April of 2020, it was found that 40 percent of COVID deaths at the time occurred in the black population, despite it only making up 14 percent of the State’s population. This staggering discovery brought on the creation of a statewide task force to investigate and address the disparity. According to the report the task force released in December, increased and strategic testing, primary care provider and telehealth access, public health campaigns and improved data quality on cases and deaths helped decrease the number of cases per capita in the black population. The number of cases between March and February dropped from 176 cases per million people per day to 44 cases per million people per day, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. This decrease is a target result of targeted investigation, analysis and policy implementations. Now it is time to further the scope of such targeted efforts.

Affordable Care Act Making an Impact in Southeastern Michigan

The Affordable Care Act was signed into legislation nearly 11 years ago (March, 2010) and while it has faced hurdles and scrutiny from the public and the public policy world, data shows it has expanded healthcare coverage to Americans. As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, access to healthcare arguably grows more and more important.

As shown in the first graph below, Wayne County had the highest percentage of individuals without health insurance in 2019 at 6.8, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Washtenaw County had the lowest percentage at 3.7 percent. The second graph shows that Wayne County, despite continuously having the highest percentage of uninsured individuals, experienced the greatest decline in the percentage of those without insurance between 2010 and 2019 at 8.8 percentage points. In 2010 15.6 percent of the Wayne County population did not have health insurance, and by 2019 that decreased to 6.8 percent.

Overall, all seven counties in Southeastern Michigan experienced a decline in the percentage of individuals without insurance. It should be noted that it was 2014 when the marketplace for health insurance opened, and Medicaid eligibility was expanded. In this time frame Wayne County had the largest decrease in the percentage of individuals uninsured at 7.1 percent, followed by St. Clair County at 6.3. percent. While access to the marketplace has certainly helped in providing individuals with access to health insurance, the expansion of Medicaid has been key, particularly for lower income individuals.

While the percentage of individuals without health insurance remains concerning, we must also be aware of how those with health insurance obtain it. In Southeastern Michigan, majority of the population obtained health insurance from their employers in 2019. In Livingston County, 59.3 percent of the population had employer-based health insurance, which was the highest percentage in the region.  Conversely, Livingston County had lowest percentage of individuals with public health insurance at 10.9 percent (Medicaid or Medicare). Additionally, 6.8 percent of the population in Livingston County purchased their insurance directly in 2019.

In Wayne County, 29.2 percent of the population utilized public health insurance, while 41.6 percent of the population received health insurance from an employer and 3.3 percent purchased it directly (6.8 percent of the Wayne County population was uninsured, bringing the total to 100 percent). Wayne County had the lowest percentage of individuals with employer provided health insurance and direct purchase health insurance but the highest percentage of individuals with public health insurance. Additionally, Wayne County had the highest percentage of individuals without health insurance. This sheds light on the fact that many individuals working in Wayne County have jobs where health insurance is not offered or affordable and may not have the means or access to obtain it through other outlets.

Overall, the data shows that the Affordable Care Act has had an impact on individuals in Southeastern Michigan, with fewer individuals going without health insurance. There is still room for improvement though in ensuring the uninsured gap is filled.

Back to the Basics: Reviewing Southeastern Michigan’s Core Data

Drawing Detroit provides weekly updates on socioeconomic data related to Southeastern Michigan and beyond. By taking publicly available data, presenting it in easy digestible formats such as maps and charts and analyzing that data we are providing a deep understanding of the structure of our region. Understanding how the population of our region changes on an annual basis is vital in shaping public policy, determining long-term infrastructure investment and how a person and community can be successful. For example, population migration data on where people are moving to and from sheds light on where jobs are and where taxpayer dollars will be going. Educational attainment data highlights where greater investment is needed to ensure student success and access to educational opportunities; educational attainment also plays a role in a family’s median income. As we as a society work to improve, knowing and understanding the data that shows what short and long-term paths we are on will only help us in reaching our goals. This is why Drawing Detroit will provide annual updates on select data sets, to show where we as a region sit  

Topics that we will provide updates and dates into annually include: 

Population

Population data is essential for planning purposes. Knowing how many people live in an area, whether the population is on an upward or downward trajectory and what age and sex ratios makeup the population help determine infrastructure, school, housing and other community needs. It also determines representation from the government. 

Race and Ethnicity 

Data on a population’s race and ethnicity guides equal and equitable public policy and access to everyday needs. We know we live in a society where racism exists, access to jobs, educational opportunities, housing and so much more is often made more difficult because of the color of a person’s skin. By knowing where those gaps of inequities are we can work to remedy them, but we must first acknowledge they exist. 

Income and Poverty

Income data is a reflection of an area’s economic well-being, which ties directly to job and job training availabilities, educational attainment and access to housing, food and healthcare. Income data is also directly related to determining poverty levels. 

Education and Educational Attainment

Education and educational attainment data helps create opportunities for students by providing greater insight into what subject matters may need more attention in the curriculum to allow for student success. It also highlights where the gaps and barriers may be for students to reach certain levels of education, which plays a role in the type of careers they may have, what their average income may be and the overall economic well-being of the area they live in. 

Other areas of importance that we will update annually are:

  • Percent of vacant housing stock
  • Gun violence/deaths 
  • Traffic deaths 
  • Deaths caused by major health factors (heart disease, cancer, etc.)
  • State revenue sharing amounts and communities’ tax bases 

All of this data, and much more, is invaluable in understanding where we as a society, a community, a region stand and how we can move forward. The graphs displayed above show where the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan are in relation to these key data points as of 2019, according to Census data. For example, the data shows that Wayne County has the highest percentage of black residents in the region but the lowest levels of educational attainment, the lowest median age and the lowest median income. Wayne County also has the highest percentage of individuals living in poverty. We know all of these factors play into one another, and by keeping track of this data we can work toward better standards of living through education on the subject matter, changes in public policy and programming.

Have other topics you feel should be updated and discussed at least annually? Let us know by emailing drawingdetroit@gmail.com

Local Journalism Plays Important Role in Local Government

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and news organizations have not been exempt. When the pandemic first hit CandG News halted publication for several weeks, the Troy-Somerset Gazette and the Detroit Metro Times made layoffs, employees were furloughed at the Detroit Free Press and the Macomb Daily no longer operates out of a newsroom. These are just some local examples of how the pandemic impacted the local news market. And, while these cuts will certainly affect the communities in which they operate, local newspapers began suffering long before COVID.

In Michigan, there have been more than 30 newspaper closures, several mergers of smaller papers into larger organizations and a loss of more than 40 percent of journalists since 2004, according to the Pew Research Center. The Pew Research Center also found there were about 114,000 newsroom employees in 2008 in the US and by 2019 that number decreased to about 88,000. The brunt of that decrease occurred at print news organizations, with about 72,000 people being employed at a newspaper in 2008 and only about 35,000 being employed in 2019. While digital and broadcast newsrooms experienced increases in employment and serve as sources of delivering the news, that doesn’t mean the impact of a local newspaper on a community was maintained. There is just as much news today, and arguably more, to be reported on but fewer and fewer resources to do so.

According to the New York Times, 65 million Americans live in a county with only one local news source. In the Midwest there are 27 counties without a newspaper, according to Poynter. This means there is zero or maybe one local news source to report on city council and school board meetings, police and fire operations, business and a host of human interest stories in dozens of counties across the region and country. Certainly not everything can be followed and reported on in a county by one newspaper. When a story is reported on relating to any one local government it is more often than not that readers lack the full understanding of the story and its impact due to prolonged periods of disengagement by both the news organization and the community itself.

Disengagement in local news directly affects voter turnout, the number of candidates who run for local office and an increase in the potential for corruption. For example, a Governing.com study found that for every additional staffer hire a 6 percent increase in local voter turnout was expected. The study also found that for each additional staffer a newspaper were to hire per 1,000-person circulation the number of candidates who would run for local office would likely increase by a factor or 1.2. As for corruption, when local newspapers are thriving, or least not clawing themselves out of a hole, more time and resources can be spent to follow local policy and spending decisions and truly get to know a community so even small discrepancies or irregularities can be recognized and investigated. Additionally, the Brookings Institute “Local Journalism in Crisis” report found that borrowing costs significantly increased for counties where a newspaper closed. While this doesn’t directly point to wrongdoing it does leave many question as to why.

The necessity for strong local journalism is clear and as this pandemic dredges on and government budgets dwindle their importance only grows greater. One of the beauties of newspapers/journalism is supposed to be how it acts as the fourth estate, the watchdog of government. But, continued decline in newspaper advertising revenues, circulation and staffing levels current approaches to local journalism and its funding are not proving to be successful. This leaves a question as to how these local news organizations can diversify their revenue sources and if government subsidies for the organizations or the readers could help keep them afloat. Creative means to maintain local journalism are vital. To ensure this country has an educated and engaged electorate and sources to unveil wrongdoing and encourage civic participation we must support the local news organizations we currently have and also vocalize their importance and demand more coverage.

What’s the Future of School Vaccines in Michigan?

Healthcare workers and the elderly will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it is widely distributed. And, in the months following their vaccinations, the general public will become eligible too. While there are still many questions to be answered regarding the adult population being vaccinated against COVID, there are also questions regarding children being vaccinated. 

When will the vaccine be ready for children? Is it safe for them? Will children be required to be vaccinated to attend school?

According to a recent Washington Post article, trials for a COVID vaccine geared toward children have either just begun or have yet to start, depending on the company. This information alone means that a vaccine for children is farther out, however more than 1.1 million children have tested positive for the virus thus far. A child’s immune system responds differently than an adult’s does which is just one reason why child-oriented trials are necessary; ensuring the vaccine is safe and effective for this sector of the population is critical.  

Certainly when a vaccine will be available for children will impact when students can safely return to school and partake in school-oriented activities. However, even when one becomes available, the question of whether they will be required to obtain take the vaccine to attend school remains. States determine vaccine laws and in Michigan the Public Health Code requires children to be immunized against polio, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. There are exceptions though, such as if vaccinating a child violates the religious beliefs of the family or is medically advised against because it could cause more harm than good to the child. 

Below are the overall vaccination and waiver rates for the diseases mentioned above by county in Southeastern Michigan. This highlights how the majority of the K-12 students in Southeastern Michigan are vaccinated as required by Michigan law.  According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Detroit (which was included in the regional maps due to its size) had the highest percentage of students vaccinated as of February 2020 at 94.1 percent, followed by Washtenaw County with 93.9 percent of its student population being vaccinated. Livingston County had the lowest percentage of students vaccinated at 90 percent. Conversely, Livingston County had the highest vaccine waiver rate at 7.7 percent while Detroit had the lowest at 1.9 percent. 

The data displayed above is reflective of vaccines required by the Michigan Public Health Code and as of yet there is no word as to whether or not the COVID vaccine will be required for school attendance in Michigan. In theory, we can only hope that vaccination rates for school-aged children will be as high as they are for the required vaccines in Michigan. But, until a vaccine for that population becomes available, and likely for sometime after, schools will have to continue to enforce social distancing, mask-wearing and regular sanitization, if they are meeting in person. 

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.