The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 29,263 as of Thursday, including 2,093 deaths, state officials report.
Thursday’s numbers represent an increase of 1,204 cases and 172 deaths. Wednesday’s total was 28,059 confirmed cases and 1,921 deaths.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on Monday that the state's case curve appears to be flattening, but that it's too early to ease up on social distancing measures.
Michigan chief medical officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said despite the reductions in the growth of cases, there are still many cases and deaths every day, noting that some areas of the state are seeing increases.
“Different areas of the state may be different in how many cases they’re seeing, and how fast that growth is,” Dr. Khaldun said.
Dr. Khaldun said the state’s ramped up testing will help public health officials make decisions moving forward.
“Easing up on social distancing measures too early would be devastating. More people will die and our hospitals will be overwhelmed,” Dr. Khaldun said. “Health and economy are related, and we must put the health of the public first.”
Michigan extended its "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order through at least April 30.
Michigan started reporting recoveries last week, with 433 total reported in the last 30 days. The state also released new hospital data on COVID-19 patients and medical supplies.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 52,000 have recovered in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported across the country.
Worldwide, more than 2 million people have been confirmed infected and over 139,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different ways nations count the dead and deliberate under-reporting by some governments.
UPDATE: The state offered more context to the increase in the death toll this week:
“MDHHS staff has put in place, a weekly review death certificate data maintained in Vital Records reporting systems. As a part of this process, records that identify COVID-19 infection as a contributing factor to death are compared against all laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). If a death certificate is matched to a confirmed COVID-19 case and that record in the MDSS does not indicate a death, the MDSS record is updated to indicate the death and the appropriate local health department is notified. These matched deaths are then included with mortality information posted to the Michigan Coronavirus website. As a result of this week’s assessment, today’s data includes 65 additional deaths that have been identified through this methodology.”
Increase in cases doesn’t discredit social distancing
It is important to note that while the number of cases is going up, it does not mean social distancing is not working. People who are testing positive now could have been exposed to the virus several weeks ago, and many people don’t show symptoms for several days.
It will take weeks to see the results of the stay-at-home order and other social distancing measures that have been put in place. Additionally, the state is still reporting results from a backlog of tests.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
- Full coverage: Coronavirus in Michigan
Here’s the Michigan county case count mapped and the total number of cases in each US state:
Here are Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths mapped per county:
Here are Michigan COVID-19 cases broken down by age range (view here if you’re not seeing the table):
Here are Michigan COVID-19 cases broken down by gender (view here if you’re not seeing the table):
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
Prevention & Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.