4 data points that show how Michigan COVID surge has slowed as vaccine coverage increased

Drastic improvements seen in last five weeks

Coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2
Coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2 (AP)

One month ago, Michigan was flashing red with COVID-19 -- the epicenter of the biggest outbreak in the U.S.

One month later, Michigan’s COVID-19 surge has slowed dramatically -- numbers in all major data categories have plummeted, and now, nearly half of the 16 and older population is fully vaccinated.

During the April COVID surge, only about 20% of residents were fully vaccinated. Now, as of May 17, just about 50% are fully vaccinated, and 56.3% have at least one dose. About 70% of the 65+ group is fully vaccinated in Michigan, as of May 17. (More here: Michigan COVID vaccine coverage)

Here’s a look at how COVID-19 data has changed in Michigan over the last month.

New cases, 7-day averages

In the second week of April, about five weeks ago, Michigan was reporting record breaking daily case totals, with the 7-day moving new case average breaking 7,000 on April 13.

Now, as of May 17, Michigan’s 7-day case average has dropped to 1,644. The state reported 1,289 new cases on Saturday, the lowest since early March.

Michigan 7-day moving COVID case average as of May 17, 2021. (WDIV)

The 7-day case average has been steadily dropping for the last four weeks. The 7-day deaths average remains elevated, but never peaked as high as previous surges. That’s because the most recent surge hit younger Michigan residents, including kids, a group at a much lower risk for severe or fatal cases of COVID-19. Additionally, more than 2/3 of the 65 and older population in Michigan is fully vaccinated.

View: More 7-day Michigan COVID-19 trends

Test positivity

Back in early April, the 7-day positive test rate was nearly 17% -- the highest we’ve recorded. On April 18, the 7-day positive test rate was 13.81%.

Now, as of May 16, the 7-day positive test rate has dropped to 6.74%, with the one-day rate at 5.68% on May 16, the lowest one-day positive test rate since early March.

Michigan 7-day positive test rate averages. (WDIV)

Hospitalizations

Perhaps the most important data point when determining COVID restrictions, hospitalizations about a month ago were at a record pandemic high. Hospitals were urging the state to issue more restrictions and Michigan voluntarily asked people to stop dining indoors for two weeks.

One month ago, Michigan reported 4,358 inpatients in hospitals for COVID-19, the highest on record, including 915 in critical care, and 530 on ventilators. More than 70 kids were hospitalized, as of April 20.

As of May 17, Michigan reported 1,781 are hospitalized, with 487 in critical care, 313 on ventilators, and 42 children in beds. Additionally, on April 20, more than 2,300 visited. emergency departments for COVID related symptoms. On May 17, 1,290 visited emergency departments.

View: More Michigan COVID-19 hospital data and trends

Michigan COVID hospital data as of May 17, 2021. (WDIV)

Recoveries

Recoveries have boomed in the last two weeks -- likely due to the fact that many who got COVID in April were younger, and more likely to recover quickly.

Since April 3, Michigan recoveries have increased from 577K to 755K -- that’s an increase of 178K recoveries. On May 15 alone, 51K recoveries were reported -- the highest for a single week.

View more: Special COVID-19 data section


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.