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.

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

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. 

Recent Drop in Michigan’s COVID Numbers Still Not Enough

On July 20, the State of Michigan reported a total of 74,152 cases, an increase of 489 cases from the day prior. In terms of the number of new daily cases, the 489 new COVID cases reported on July 20 is a small increase from the 483 new cases reported on July 19. Of the new 489 new COVID cases, 202 were documented in Southeastern Michigan. In total, 41 percent of the new COVID cases were in Southeastern Michigan, meaning case numbers are increasing at a higher rate outside of the region than locally. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of COVID cases on July 18 was 73,068–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 Southeastern Michigan continues to increase, with the numbers in Wayne County continuing to inch closer to those being reported in Detroit. On July 18, Wayne County’s numbers reached 11,595. Detroit, which continues to have the highest overall number of cases, reported 12,178 COVID cases as of July 18. Oakland County reported 10,110 cases and Macomb County reported 8,013.

The City of Detroit had 1,817 COVID cases per 100,000 people as of July 20, an increase from 1,812 on July 19 (Chart 3). This is based upon a reported increase of 32 new COVID cases between July 19 and July 20, bringing the total number of COVID cases in Detroit to 12,223. Wayne County reported 11,085 cases per 100,000 people, and Oakland County had 810 cases per 100,000 people. These per capita rates were based upon 11,686 total cases for Wayne and for 10,191 Oakland. Macomb County reported 928 cases per 100,000 people, which is based upon 8,107 cases.

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.

Chart 4 shows that Oakland County has been reporting the highest number of daily cases, according to the five-day rolling average, in about the last week. On July 18, Oakland County reported 74 new daily cases; Chart 4.1 also shows this, but at a more zoomed in level. The charts also show that Detroit reported 34 new cases on July 18, which is lower than the new cases reported out of Macomb and Wayne counties as well. Macomb County reported 62 new cases and Wayne County reported 72.

Map 1, which shows the average number of new daily COVID cases between July 9 and July 16 for Southeastern Michigan, highlights how Wayne County had the highest average number of new cases at 70.4, but Oakland County was right behind it with an average of 68.8. new cases. The map also shows that for Detroit the average number of new cases last week was 31.1 and it was 46.6 for Macomb County. As the data above shows, all four of those entities, and the remaining counties in the region all reported lower average weekly numbers for new daily COVID cases between July 9-16 than what was reported on July 18.

On July 20, the per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people was 5 for the State, which was equivalent to 482 new cases (Chart 5). Detroit and Wayne County also each reported a per capita rate of 5 new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people on July 20, which was equivalent to 32 and 50 new cases, respectively. Macomb County was the only entity in the region to report a higher per capita rate than the State. Macomb County reported a per capita rate of 7 which was equivalent to 65 new daily cases.  Oakland County reported a per capita rate of which was equivalent to 42 new cases. In Southeastern Michigan there were 202 new COVID cases reported on July 20.

Map 2 mimics the message of Map 1, with Wayne County having the highest average number of daily confirmed COVID cases per 100,000 between July 9 and July 16. During that week Wayne County had an average of 6.8 daily COVID cases per 100,000 people. Detroit averaged a per capita rate of 4.5 during that time frame.

In Chart 6, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths in Michigan, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 6,114 on July 18. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on July 20 was 6,126, an increase of 7 deaths from the prior day.  Of the 7 deaths that were reported on July 20, 4 occurred in Southeastern Michigan.

Chart 7 (a 5-day rolling average) further hones in on where the majority of the COVID deaths in Michigan have occurred, and continue to occur, in Southeastern Michigan. As of July 18, the City of Detroit had reported 1,467 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,190 deaths on July 18.

The per capita rates for the number of total COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to remain fairly stagnant across the region. Detroit reported 218 total COVID deaths per 100,000 people on July 20, which was equivalent to 1,468 deaths. Wayne County reported a per capita rate of 111 (1,191 deaths), Macomb County reported a per capita rate of 103 (892 deaths) and Oakland County reported a per capita rate of 86 (1,076 deaths). The State of Michigan reported a per capita rate for the number of total COVID deaths at 61 per 100,000 people, which was equivalent to 6,126  total deaths.

Chart 9, the five day rolling average of deaths, shows the number of new statewide deaths was reported at 15 on July 18. Furthermore, Chart 10 and Chart 10.1 shows how the number of deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to remain low. Chart 10.1 shows a more in-depth look at the number of new daily COVID deaths in the last month so viewers can better discern where in the Southeastern Michigan the numbers are increasing, decreasing or remaining the same. Detroit reported 2 new daily deaths on July 18 while Macomb, Oakland and Wayne each reported 1.

In Map 3, Wayne and Oakland counties had the highest average number of daily COVID deaths between July 9 and July 16 at 1.5 and Detroit averaged 1.3 deaths. Macomb County averaged 1 death during that time frame. The averages last week reported in the map are similar to the daily death numbers that have been being reported in Southeastern Michigan.

Chart 11.1 shows the fatality rate for just the month of July with the cumulative number of new cases and deaths for only this month. This chart was created in recognition that case and death numbers are lower than they were even a month ago and to highlight how even if case numbers spike death numbers continue to remain low. Using only July cumulative data for the new number of cases and deaths, Monroe County has recently had the highest fatality rate, which was reported at 13.4 percent on July 20, which is based on 13 new cumulative deaths since the beginning of July and 97 new cumulative cases. The overall fatality rate for most of the region is much higher than the new recent cumulative look we are exploring. For example, the City of Detroit had an overall fatality rate of 12 percent on July 20 but with a more recent look, which includes lower new daily case and death numbers, it was 6.45 percent (as shown in the chart below).

On July 20 the State of Michigan reported 489 new COVID cases, which is amongst the lowest daily total reported in about a week. With weekend numbers reaching close to 700, the decline is welcomed but also means we—as a State and a society—have a ways to go to get to a more manageable number of new daily case numbers.

The Impacts of COVID on Mobility in Southeastern Michigan

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the daily lives of everyone-from their work and school schedules to the way we obtain goods and services to how we recreate and interact with others. These changes directly relate to national and local mobility trends, especially since several Executive Orders in Michigan have either mandated or encouraged people to stay home and telecommute whenever possible.

The data we present here show the changes in mobility in Southeastern Michigan. These data were produced by Google, which is creating mobility reports for each State during this pandemic. The data presented below highlights the percent change in visits to places like grocery stores and parks in the seven counties that make up Southeastern Michigan. The list below is the percent change in mobility to these places between the first of April to mid-May for the State of Michigan. The maps below also reflect that timeframe and show the percent change in mobility trends at the county level for Southeastern Michigan compared to what baseline for mobility was to these places before the pandemic hit.

Shifts in Mobility Trends: Michigan

  • Residential: +8%
  • Workplaces: -28%
  • Grocery and pharmacy: -6%
  • Retail and recreation: -34%
  • Parks: +180%
  • Transit stations:-24%

Places of Residence

With the coronavirus pandemic came a statewide lockdown, which mandated people only leave their homes for necessities and not to visit with anyone outside of their homes, unless they were an essential worker. However, even with the mandate there was an increase in mobility between residences, statewide and locally. Statewide, there was an 8 percent increase in mobility to residential homes, and in Southeastern Michigan there was between a 7-12 percent increase, depending on the county. Washtenaw County had the highest percent increase in mobility between residences at 12 percent; St. Clair County had the lowest percent change at 7 percent. In Wayne County there was a 9 percent increase in mobility between residences, and in Macomb and Oakland counties there was a 10 percent increase.

Workplaces

As noted, the Governor’s emergency orders throughout the pandemic have required certain places of business to close and for others to allow for telecommuting whenever possible. With such policy shifts came a decline in mobility to workplaces all throughout Michigan. At the State level there was a 28 percent decline from the normal amount of mobility to workplaces, and throughout Southeastern Michigan there was between a 24-40 percent decline in mobility to workplaces between the beginning of April and mid-May. Washtenaw County had the largest decline at 40 percent. In Wayne County there was a 32 percent decline in mobility to workplaces prior the coronavirus pandemic, in Oakland County there was a 36 percent decline, and in Macomb County there was a 35 percent decline. Monroe County had the smallest percent decline from the baseline at 24 percent.

Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

Between April and mid-May there was a decrease in mobility to grocery stores and pharmacies throughout Michigan, including in Southeastern Michigan. Washtenaw County experienced the largest decline at 25 percent while Monroe County’s shift was only 4 percent lower than the amount residents normally commute to these places. Although we witnessed bare shelves at the beginning of the pandemic, with certain product shortages continuing through today, the decline in mobility to these stores is not surprising as both consumers and businesses shifted to online and third party delivery services.

Retail and Recreation Locations

With the restrictions on business operations, including if they could even remain open to the public, it is also not surprising that at the State and local levels mobility trends have experienced a decline to retail and recreation locations. Washtenaw County again experienced the largest decline in mobility from the frequency residents were traveling before the pandemic to retail and recreation locations. According to the data, there was a 50 percent decline in commuting to retail and recreation locations for Washtenaw County. In Wayne County that decline was 33 percent, in Macomb County it was 37 percent, and in Oakland County it was 48 percent. At the State level there was a 34 percent decline from the baseline in the amount people traveled to retail and recreation locations.

Parks

Similar to the trend being experienced at the State level, all counties in Southeastern Michigan have experienced an increase in mobility to parks. Wayne County experienced the smallest percent change at 32 percent while Macomb County experienced the largest percent change at 347 percent. There were three counties-Macomb, St. Clair and Washtenaw – where mobility to parks increased at a higher rate than the mobility rate increase at the State level (180 percent).

Transit Stations

The data also shows that there was a decrease in mobility to transit stations throughout most of Southeastern Michigan, but not the entire region. In Monroe and St. Clair counties there was an 18 and 6 percent increase in mobility, respectively. In Wayne County, which provides public transportation via both the Detroit Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Michigan Authority of Regional Transit (SMART) mobility to these stations decreased by 34 percent. There are also communities in Oakland County and all of Macomb County that offers public transportation via SMART; mobility to these stations declined by 15 percent and 3 percent, respectively. In Washtenaw County, where there is also a local transportation system, mobility to these stations declined by 28 percent. There was a 24 percent decline in mobility to transportation stations at the State level.

Overall, this data provides a glimpse into how the coronavirus pandemic has shifted certain aspects of our everyday ways of life. These current shifts could lead to long-term policy changes as we as a state and a nation are seeing that telecommuting, road diets and contactless shopping, among other changes, are possible. Pros and cons can be argued for the long-term impacts of such changes, however, decreases in commuting does mean a decline in certain pollutants being emitted, which is environmentally beneficial and a shift we need to implement for the long-term viability of this planet.

Michigan COVID Numbers Experience Overall Decline, Spikes in Cases Continue Though

The number of COVID cases in Michigan has flattened over the last several months, but as daily data show new cases continue to be reported. On June 22, the State of Michigan reported a total of 61,609 cases, an increase of 179 cases from the day prior. The daily total was equivalent to 615 cases per 100,000 people (Chart 4). Of those 179 cases, 61 were documented in Southeastern Michigan. In total, 34 percent of the new COVID cases were in Southeastern Michigan, meaning case numbers are increasing at a higher rate outside of the region than locally. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of COVID cases on  June 20 was 61,034–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 continues to be important as the State of Michigan regularly updates its past COVID data and not all State changes can continuously be updated here.

Chart 2 shows that, based on the five-day rolling averages, the growth of new COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan has been increasing at a much slower pace compared to previous months. However, Detroit and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties continue to add cases. On June 20 the number of cases in Detroit reached 11,376, the highest in the region, and Wayne County reported the second highest number of cases at 9,946. On June 20, the five-day rolling average for the number of COVID cases in Oakland County was 8,864, and Macomb County reported 6,974.

The City of Detroit had 1,694 COVID cases per 100,000 people as of June 20, an increase from 1,692 on June 19 (Chart 3). This is based upon a reported increase of 13 new COVID cases since June 19, bringing the total number of COVID cases in Detroit to 11,394. Wayne County reported 926 cases per 100,000 people, and Oakland County had 690  cases per 100,000 people. These per capita rates were based upon 9,970 total cases for Wayne and for 8,674 Oakland. Macomb County reported 799 cases per 100,000 people, which is based upon 6,983 cases.

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.

Chart 4 shows that Wayne County reported the highest number of daily cases, according to the five-day rolling average, at 13 on June 20. Detroit reported 8 new daily cases while Oakland County reported 6 and Macomb County reported 3. As Map 1 shows, Detroit and Wayne and Macomb counties all reported a lower number of new daily cases on June 20 than what the average was for last week (June 11-18). For example, last week Detroit averaged 12 new COVID cases and on June 20 it reported 8. Oakland County though had an average of 0.6 new cases last week and reported 6 new cases on June 20 through 5-day rolling average calculations. So, while there are signs the number of new cases are declining regionally, the data also shows that nowhere is immune from having its numbers increase again.

On June 22, the per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people was 2 for the State, which was equivalent to 179 new cases. On June 22, Detroit and Monroe and Washtenaw counties all reported the same per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people as the State-2. Detroit’s per capita rate of 2 was equivalent to 13 new cases per 100,000 people, based on an actual number of cases. St. Clair County reported a per capita rate of 3 and the remaining counties all reported per capita rates of 1. Wayne County’s per capita rate of 1 was equivalent to 22 new cases, the highest in the region that day. The second map below (Map 2) shows that while Detroit’s per capita rate on June 22 is on par with its average rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people for the week of June 11-18, St. Clair County is experiencing higher numbers this week than last. St. Clair County had a per capita rate of 3 on June 22 and an average per capita rate of 0.8 last week.

Chart 4 shows that Wayne County reported the highest number of daily cases, according to the five-day rolling average, at 13 on June 20. Detroit reported 8 new daily cases while Oakland County reported 6 and Macomb County reported 3. As Map 1 shows, Detroit and Wayne and Macomb counties all reported a lower number of new daily cases on June 20 than what the average was for last week (June 11-18). For example, last week Detroit averaged 12 new COVID cases and on June 20 it reported 8. Oakland County though had an average of 0.6 new cases last week and reported 6 new cases on June 20 through 5-day rolling average calculations. So, while there are signs the number of new cases are declining regionally, the data also shows that nowhere is immune from having its numbers increase again.

On June 22, the per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people was 2 for the State, which was equivalent to 179 new cases. On June 22, Detroit and Monroe and Washtenaw counties all reported the same per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people as the State-2. Detroit’s per capita rate of 2 was equivalent to 13 new cases per 100,000 people, based on an actual number of cases. St. Clair County reported a per capita rate of 3 and the remaining counties all reported per capita rates of 1. Wayne County’s per capita rate of 1 was equivalent to 22 new cases, the highest in the region that day. The second map below (Map 2) shows that while Detroit’s per capita rate on June 22 is on par with its average rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people for the week of June 11-18, St. Clair County is experiencing higher numbers this week than last. St. Clair County had a per capita rate of 3 on June 22 and an average per capita rate of 0.8 last week.

In Chart 6, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths in Michigan shows how they have leveled off during the month of June. On June 20 there were 5,837 deaths (an increase of 12 deaths from the day prior). The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on June 22 was 5,853, an increase of 7 deaths from the prior day. Of those deaths that occurred, 4 were in Southeastern Michigan.

Chart 7 (a 5-day rolling average) further reflects how the number of deaths has leveled off in the State and Southeastern Michigan. On June 20 the City of Detroit reported 1,428 deaths, and while it is still the highest number in the region, that number has only increased by 25 total deaths since June 8. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,141 deaths on June 20; Wayne County had 1,120 deaths on June 8.

The per capita rates for the number of total COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan remained the same for each entity on June 22; these rates have all remained the same since June 14. Detroit reported 212 total COVID deaths per 100,000 people (1,428 deaths), Wayne County reported a per capita rate of 106 (1,143 deaths), Macomb County reported a per capita rate of 99 (862 deaths) and Oakland County reported a per capita rate of 82 (1,037 deaths).

Chart 9, the five day rolling average of deaths, shows the number of new statewide deaths was reported at 12 on June 20,  an increase from the 11 new deaths reported the day before. While the number new statewide deaths did slightly increase on June 20, the overall number has not gone above 18 since June 10. In mid-April the number of new deaths in Michigan reached a peak at 145. Furthermore, Chart 10 shows how the number of deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to decline, a trend we are eager to see continue. Oakland and Wayne counties each reported 1 new death, the highest in the region. These numbers are based on 5-day rolling averages. As the map below shows, Detroit and each county in the region experienced a decrease in the number of deaths from June 20 and the average number of deaths last week. Wayne County had the highest average number of deaths from the week of June 11 to 18 at 1.1, and on June 20 it was reported at 1. Detroit averaged 0.4 deaths last week and reported 0 new deaths on June 20.

While we know that the number of COVID cases and deaths has decreased throughout the month of June we also continue to see spikes in new cases periodically in different areas throughout the State. For example, note how majority of the number of new cases reported in Michigan on June 22 were from outside the State’s most populate region. Additionally, Southeastern Michigan has been the last area in the State to loosen restrictions. Overall, Michigan has experienced a recent uptick in the number of new cases. According to Mlive, the seven average for new COVID cases this week is 192 and last week it was 152. So, while the data shows that the curve has certainly flattened it also reflects how abiding by health recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control plays a large role in flattening that curve.

COVID Puts Digital Divide on Display

There is a digital divide across the State of Michigan and across the country, largely related to  socioeconomic factors. As the coronavirus hit the US that divide grew even wider as access to public and private places that normally provide amenities such as the internet and computers were shuttered. The divide also grew as students had to finish the school year from home, and thousands were left without computers or internet access. While schools had printed resources available to ensure students could complete the school year, the access to the digital world-or lack thereof-was substantial. 

In the State of Michigan Detroit Public Schools had the highest number of households without internet access–82,894, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The second highest number in Michigan was the Flint School District which had 14,221 households without internet access. Looking only at Southeastern Michigan, Utica Community Schools had the second highest number of homes without internet access (behind Detroit) at 7,181 homes. There were 5 times as many households in the Detroit Public Schools district without internet access than in the Flint School District and 11 times as many households in Detroit Public Schools than in Utica Community Schools without internet access. Detroit Public Schools is the largest district in the State. 

While Detroit Public Schools is the largest district in the State it also provides education to students who live in some of the lowest median income households in the State. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 47 percent of children in Detroit live below the poverty level. On the other end of the spectrum, Northville Public Schools is the wealthiest school district in the State with 1.4 percent of children living in poverty, according to the Census Bureau. There were only 755 homes within Northville Public Schools that did not have access to the internet. 

As the Statewide map shows (below), the majority of the districts throughout Michigan had less than 2,400 homes without internet access. For several smaller districts, such as those throughout the northern part of the lower peninsula and all those in the upper peninsula and the west side of the State, the lower numbers are understandable due to the smaller number of students in districts. But, what stands out is the districts on the map that are red, orange or blue. These larger urban areas including Flint, Grand Rapids and Lansing were all in the districts with the higher numbers of households without internet access.

The second map shows a more concentrated look at Southeastern Michigan. This highlights how several school districts closer to Detroit also had a higher number of homes without internet access. Some of these are also low or moderate income communities. For example, the lower half of Macomb County, which is more urban and densely populated, has four school districts where between about 7,200 and 14,000 households do not have access to the internet. 

According to the article “The Effects of Home Computers on Educational

Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Community College Students” published in The Economic Journal, access to computers and the internet improves students’ skills to getting school work completed, which in turn improves educational outcomes. The Skillman Foundation, DTE Energy, General Motors and Quicken Loans have all worked to provide laptops to Detroit Public Schools students in need throughout this pandemic. Additionally, companies such as Comcast have opened their hotspots for more widespread internet access. However, the coronavirus has shed light on many different socioeconomic issues.  The digital divide and its impact on distance learning is certainly one of them.

Internet access has arguably come close to a fundamental need for many day-to-day functions, including for schoolwork.  The recognized need for the internet to aide in school work is supported by the recent partnerships, discussed above, with universities and corporations to provide access to those without it in the Detroit Public Schools district. Furthermore, in Kalamazoo, where 5,191 homes are without access in the public school district, a similar partnership was developed with the City through its Foundation for Aspirational Excellence Fund. This fund is supported through the City, the school district, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Kalamazoo Promise. The director of the Kalamazoo Promise, Von Washington Jr., was recently quoted in MLive saying how the recent closure of public schools “exacerbated the educational inequities that are present in our community.”

As non-profits and corporations step up to, at least temporarily, fill the gap in internet access to ensure students can continue to learn, we must also ask what other ways the internet has become essential, especially during a pandemic. During the pandemic online doctors appointments were often the only access to medical care. Working remotely was mandated in many workplaces. Buying goods and groceries, via the internet has become a new way of life. Access to the internet has become so useful-even essential-in everyday life functions the United Nations passed a resolution in 2016 declaring it a human right. The partnerships discussed above related to the concerns of internet access for education equity also highlights how, at least nationally, more and more attention is being focused on the need for broadband access no matter where or who you are. Whether or not everyone will have access in the near future, and how that access will be supported-through public or private dollars, or combination of both-remains to be fully addressed though.

Despite Decrease in COVID Case, Death Numbers Michigan Remains Among the Hardest Hit

According to the State of Michigan, the total number of COVID cases in Michigan rose to 47,552on May 11, an increase of 414 cases from the previous day. This total was equivalent to 476 cases per 100,000 people (Chart 4). 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. That upward trend of the curve has been flattening in recent weeks as the number of new COVID cases, both throughout the State and regionally, gradually declines. In Southeastern Michigan, Detroit reported the highest number of daily cases at 63 on May 9; this was a decline from the day before (Chart 3). Note that this five day rolling average causes these daily case and daily death charts to lag two days behind.

Chart 2 shows that over the last several days, based on the five-day rolling averages, the number of new COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan has remained fairly consistent, allowing the curve to flatten. The number of cumulative COVID cases remains the highest in Detroit at 9,712 on May 9, with Wayne County following at a reported 8,232 cases. On May 9, the five-day rolling average for the number of COVID cases in Oakland County was 7,694, and Macomb County reported 5,993.

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.

The City of Detroit had 1,464 COVID cases per 100,000 people on May 11, an increase from 1,455 the day before (Chart 4). This is based upon a reported increase of 65 new cases, bringing the total number of COVID cases in Detroit to 9,851. Wayne County reported 1,240 cases per 100,000 people, and Oakland County had 1,152 cases per 100,000 people. These per capita rates were based upon 8,343 total cases for Wayne and 7,752 for Oakland. Macomb County reported 901 cases per 100,000 people, which is based upon 6,064 cases.

Chart 5 shows that the per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people remained fairly stable for Detroit since May 8. On May 11 Detroit reported 10 new COVID cases per 100,000 people, which was equivalent to 65 new cases. Detroit experienced a small decline in its per capita rate while Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties all experienced small increases. On May 11 Monroe County reported 3 daily COVID cases per 100,000 people, as did Washtenaw County; Wayne County reported 5 daily COVID cases per 100,000 people. These per capita rates were equivalent to 4, 10 and 54 new cases, respectively. Oakland County reported a per capita rate of 1 new case per 100,000 people on May 11, which was equivalent to 16 new cases, and Macomb County reported a rate of 3, which was equivalent to 22 new cases.

The State’s per capita rate was 3.8 new cases per 100,000 people, equivalent to 382 new cases. In total, of the 414 new cases, Southeastern Michigan accounted for 195 of them.

In Chart 6, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths shows a continuing slow increase (a lagged number of 4,480 deaths, an increase of 67deaths). The actual reported COVID-19 deaths reached 4,584 on May 11, an increase of 33 deaths from the day prior. Of those 33 daily deaths reported on May 11, 16 were in Southeastern Michigan. While there was a small increase in the number of daily deaths between May 10 and 11, the numbers reported both days are still significantly lower than what has been reported for more than a month.

Chart 7 portrays how the total number of COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to increase, but that rate of increase has been gradually declining overall, showing that the curve is slowly starting to flatten. Chart 9 highlights how the curve is flattening throughout Southeastern Michigan, with the number of daily deaths throughout the region not reaching more than 15 in any one government entity on May 9. Oakland County reported the highest number of additional deaths on May 9 at 15, this was based on a 5-day rolling average calculation. Detroit and Wayne County each reported 13 additional daily deaths. Such declines in the number of daily deaths in Southeastern Michigan is why, in large part, the State continues to experience a decline in its daily death numbers (Chart 8), which reflects a slower increase in the overall number of COVID deaths.

Chart 10 portrays the total number of COVID deaths per 100,000 people. As of May 11, the cumulative total of COVID deaths per 100,000 people in Detroit was 177 (representing 1,192 deaths). In Wayne County there were 136 COVID deaths per 100,000 people (913 total deaths), in Oakland County there were 126 deaths per 100,000 people (849 total deaths), and in Macomb County there were 104 COVID deaths per 100,000 people (699 total).

The State of Michigan had 46 COVID deaths per 100,000 people, a rate that continues to remain lower than the four entities discussed above.

The fatality rate for Detroit and the State both declined by 0.1 percent on May 11. Detroit reported a fatality rate of 12.1 percent, and the State reported a fatality rate of 9.6 percent. Detroit and the three largest counties in the region continue to have fatality rates at or above 11 percent.

One reason we may be seeing such high fatality rates in Michigan is due to the low testing rates. When only having-presumably-a lower of number confirmed COVID cases than is actually likely due to the limited availability of tests, the fatality rate appears higher because the base comparison is smaller than it might be.

Michigan reported 33 additional deaths on May 11, and while this was an increase from the day before, it was still among the lowest number of daily deaths reported since late March. The data shows that daily death and case numbers continue to trend downward. However, Michigan remains one of the hardest hit states. It ranks seventh in the nation in confirmed cases and fourth in deaths.

Michigan COVID Cases Reach 38,210; Decline Yet to Be Seen

According to the State of Michigan, the total number of COVID cases in Michigan increased to 38,210 on April 27, which was an increase of 432 cases from the previous day. This total  was equivalent to 382 cases per 100,000 people (Chart 3) on April 27. The five-day rolling average for the total number of (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing or the quality of reporting or failure to report. The five day rolling average means  our daily case and death charts will lag two days behind. The COVID cases increased to 37,025, based on this approach. Even with the smoothing, however, there is no decline.

Chart 2 reflects the five-day rolling averages at the County level and for the City of Detroit. As was shown in Chart 2, Detroit continues to have the highest number of confirmed cases, recorded at 8,526 on April 25.  The number of cases in Wayne County increased to 6,988 for a five-day rolling average on April 25 while in Oakland County the number of cases increased to 6,832 and in Macomb County it increased to 5,114.

The City of Detroit showed total COVID per capita cases of 1,289 per 100,000 people on April 27, an increase from 1,280 the day before (Chart 3); this represents a reported increase of 66 new cases. Wayne County reported 1,069 cases per 100,000 people, and Macomb County had 795 cases per 100,000. The per capita rate in Oakland County dropped to 1,028 cases per 100,000 people, when it was 1,030 the day prior. This is a result of the State reporting a decrease in the total number of cases between April 26 and 27. This is likely a lapse in reporting reflected in Chart 3, Chart 4 and Chart 5. Macomb County had the highest per capita increase between April 26 and April 27 at 22 new cases per 100,000 people.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data was supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State.

As noted, Chart 4 shows that Oakland County had 0 new cases reported on April 27; this is due to the State reporting a decreased number of cases between April 26 and 27. To reflect this we show no new cases being reported on April 27 for Oakland County. (We’ll be checking on this number.) Macomb County reported the highest number of new COVID cases on April 27 at 142, Detroit reported 66, and Wayne County reported 58.

Chart 5 again shows that Macomb County had the highest increase in the number of new COVID cases between April 26 and April 27. On April 27 Macomb County reported 16 new COVID cases per 100,000 people; that County reported 7 new COVID cases per 100,000 on April 26. In Detroit there were 10 new COVID cases per 100,000 people from April 26 to April 27. In Wayne County there were 5 new COVID cases per 100,000 people on April 27 compared to 13 on April 26.

In Chart 6 the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths shows a continuing steady increase (a lagged number of 3,212 deaths, an increase of 119 deaths). The actual reported COVID-19 deaths reached 3,407 on April 27, an increase of 92 deaths from the day prior (Chart 7).

Breaking down the five-day rolling average of COVID deaths, Detroit still has a far higher rate of increase than the other units. Wayne County is second, followed by Oakland and Macomb counties. Each county but Monroe and St. Clair experienced an increase in the total number of deaths. These increases continue to be represented in Charts 9 and 10.

Chart 9 represents the total number of COVID deaths per 100,000 people. For Detroit on April 27 there were 141 COVID deaths per 100,000 people (equivalent to 950 deaths). In Wayne County there were 100 COVID deaths per 100,000 people (672 total deaths), in Oakland County there were 94 deaths per 100,000 people (631 total deaths) and in Macomb County there were 78 COVID deaths per 1000,000 people on April 27 (672 total). Detroit, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties all experienced a small increase in the number of new deaths, with Detroit experiencing an increase of 28 and Wayne County experiencing an increase of 14. 

Chart 10 shows the five-day rolling average for the number of new COVID deaths, Here we see a number of counties showing a decline in additional deaths, a good sign if this trend continues.

Notably in Chart 11 we see that the fatality rate in Detroit on April 27 decreased from 10.7 percent to 10.1 percent. The data also shows that the fatality rate in Macomb County is slowly decreasing. Just last week it was the highest in the region and now it has decreased below Detroit’s rate and from its peak of 10.1 percent to 9.9 percent. The State’s fatality rate on April 27 was 8.9 percent, a small decrease from the fatality rate the day prior. These declines may represent real changes or simply an increase in testing (the denominator here).

It appears as though the number of deaths is slowing, however we also know that the State releases additional COVID death numbers through another method of confirmation sporadically throughout the week. Such data releases could reveal that we are not slowing the spread and impact of the virus as much as we think. The Governor did note yesterday that they believe there is a plateauing in the number of cases and deaths in the State.