Explaining the data that comes with Michigan’s daily coronavirus updates

Taking a look at the overall perspective after six weeks

Every day, ClickOnDetroit brings you the state’s daily tally of newly confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths, along with other statistics. But after six weeks of numbers and graphs, it’s important to take a look at the overall perspective.
Every day, ClickOnDetroit brings you the state’s daily tally of newly confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths, along with other statistics. But after six weeks of numbers and graphs, it’s important to take a look at the overall perspective.

DETROIT – Every day, ClickOnDetroit brings you the state’s daily tally of newly confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths, along with other statistics. But after six weeks of numbers and graphs, it’s important to take a look at the overall perspective.

State officials have been consistent about sharing the cumulative COVID-19 numbers, but many people have a better understanding of the data when they see it visually through graphs. Those graphics can tell the story in a way numbers alone can’t capture.

Click here to view all the graphs referenced by Dr. Frank McGeorge below.

The story begins with a graph on March 10, when the first two cases of COVID-19 were announced in the state. But another graph offers a different piece of the story, showing the number of tests being done each day.

Until March 15, hardly any testing was being done. It wasn’t until March 17 that testing picked up, and not really until March 20 that testing was getting up to speed.

Shortly after that, cases began to climb, and after March 25, when thousands of tests were being conducted every day, cases skyrocketed.

MORE: Tracking coronavirus cases in nursing homes around Metro Detroit

The slope of the graph of cases shows it’s gradually leveling off from its steepest increase. The number of new daily cases is generally decreasing.

A graph of the new daily deaths shows the peak of the curve is shifted by about two weeks. That’s because deaths don’t generally occur immediately after diagnosis.

Another important graph shows the distribution of cases by age, and it’s clear they peak in middle age. But when you click on deaths, it shows how the risk drastically increases with age.

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A heat map of the state shows where the highest concentration of cases is, and it’s adjusted for population. It demonstrates how less populated areas can be disproportionately affected by even a few cases. It’s food for thought once the stay-at-home order is lifted and travel up north resumes.


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.