Morning Briefing Feb. 9, 2021: Motown legend Mary Wilson dies, WHO findings from China lab, polar bear dies at Detroit Zoo and more

Here are this morning’s top stories

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 1964 file photo, The Supremes, from left, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross, perform during a reception for them in a hotel, in London. Wilson, the longest-reigning original Supreme, has died at 76 years old. Publicist Jay Schwartz says Wilson died Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, at her home in Las Vegas and that the cause was not immediately clear. (AP Photo/Bob Dear, File) (Bob Dear, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Detroit loses Motown legend Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, the longest-reigning original Supreme, has died at 76 years old.

Wilson died Monday night at her home in Las Vegas and the cause was not immediately clear, said publicist Jay Schwartz.

Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard made up the first successful configuration of The Supremes. Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967, and Wilson stayed with the group until it was officially disbanded by Motown in 1977.

The group’s first No. 1, million-selling song, “Where Did Our Love Go,” was released June 17, 1964. Touring at the time, Wilson said there was a moment when she realized they had a hit song.


WHO team: Coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from China lab

AP: The coronavirus is unlikely to have leaked from a Chinese lab and is more likely to have jumped to humans from an animal, a World Health Organization team has concluded, an expert said Tuesday as the group wrapped up a visit to explore the origins of the virus.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology in central China has collected extensive virus samples, leading to allegations that it may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the virus into the surrounding community. China has strongly rejected that possibility and has promoted other theories for the virus’s origins. The WHO team that visited Wuhan, where the first cases of COVID-19 were discovered in December 2019, is considering several theories for how the disease first ended up in humans, leading to a pandemic that has now killed more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research,” WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek said at a news conference Tuesday.

Read more here.


Polar bear death at Detroit Zoo

We also have some sad news to share out of the Detroit Zoo this morning: The Detroit Zoological Society is mourning the loss of a female polar bear. Anana died Monday during a mating attempt by a male polar bear, Nuka. The 20-year-old female arrived at the zoo in January 2020. She was living with 16-year-old male Nuka since March.

Read back: Detroit Zoo debuts new polar bear, Anana, to help with breeding efforts


Trump impeachment trial today

Watch live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial as the Senate considers whether he can be held responsible for the Capitol riots.

The event begins at 11 a.m. -- watch live here. The Senate will convene at 1 p.m.

The trial begins Tuesday with a debate and vote on whether it’s even constitutional to prosecute the former president.

Trump is the first president to be impeached twice. He is charged with inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, when a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol to interrupt the electoral vote count. Five people died. Before the riot, Trump had told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat.

Read more: What to watch as Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial kicks off


Metro Detroit weather: Numerous upper level disturbances to track

Here is the weather forecast for Detroit.

Coronavirus in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 569,417 as of Monday, including 14,905 deaths, state officials report.

Monday’s update includes 1,769 new cases and 11 additional deaths over the past two days. On Saturday, the state reported a total of 567,648 cases and 14,894 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases have plateaued and deaths are starting to slow. Testing has been steady with more than 40,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down to 4.2% as of Monday. Hospitalizations continue to decline over the last several weeks.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,159 on Monday -- the lowest since October. The 7-day death average was 38 on Monday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 56,100 on Monday -- near the lowest it’s been since October.

Related: Michigan’s most important COVID-19 numbers trending in right direction

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 27 million cases have been reported in the U.S., with more than 463,600 deaths reported from the virus.

Worldwide, more than 106 million people have been confirmed infected and more than 2.3 million have died. More than 59 million have recovered, 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.

Here’s a look at more of the data:


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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.