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‘Deadly and grim’: Michigan could soon see 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per week, model says

‘1,000 deaths per week is what one of the models tells us,' Whitmer says

A graph showing the trend of daily COVID-19 deaths in the state of Michigan.
A graph showing the trend of daily COVID-19 deaths in the state of Michigan. (WDIV)

The state of Michigan could soon see 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per week, according to a model referenced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

During a press briefing to announce new COVID-19 restrictions ordered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Whitmer spoke about the state’s disturbing virus trends, including rising case, death and hospitalization numbers.

“A leading model shows that if we don’t take aggressive action right now, we could soon see 1,000 deaths per week here in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “I want you to think about that: 1,000 deaths per week is what one of the models tells us.”

“If we do not act now, there’s no question that the next couple of months, next several months, will be deadly and grim,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for MDHHS.

As of Saturday afternoon, the state of Michigan has reported 251,813 COVID-19 cases and 7,994 deaths since the first cases were confirmed March 10.

Michigan reported 7,072 new COVID-19 cases and 65 additional deaths Saturday -- one day after reporting a single-day record 8,516 cases.

On Thursday, Whitmer she was considering further action to stop the spread of the virus.

“Right now, my team and I are following the numbers closely and strongly considering all actions that we can take to keep Michiganders safe,” Whitmer said during the briefing.

The numbers on Friday and Saturday were enough to prompt that action, as MDHHS announced a three-week “pause” on many segments of the state’s economy. Read about the 14 changes that order will bring to the state here.

Wednesday (Nov. 18) marks the beginning of the three-week shutdown, which is scheduled to last until Dec. 8.

Whitmer said Sunday that the move could save thousands of lives.

“We have just under 8,000 people lost,” Whitmer said. “That could be 1,000 a week we could be adding to that. So if we act now, though, just like we took action in the spring, and we work together, we can save lives -- thousands of lives.”

Khaldun echoed concerns about the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state.

“By Feb. 15, models predict we could have as many as 20,000 additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Michigan,” Khaldun said. “In many more of those cases, even if they live, they are facing potentially significant long-term health consequences -- things researchers are still learning more about, things like heart problems, kidney problems, difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating and others.”


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