Michigan COVID-19 cases continue to increase but at a slower pace


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Coronavirus cases grew by a small percentage while deaths increased by 11 today, according to state officials.

On Sunday, officials are confirming 51,142 total coronavirus cases and 4,891 COVID-19 related deaths in Michigan. An increase of 638 cases from yesterday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the number just before 3:00 p.m. today. Yesterday, the department confirmed 50,504 cases and 4,880 deaths.

The state data shows that the City of Detroit has 10,327 cases and 1,255 deaths, Wayne County has 8,689 cases and 957 deaths, and Oakland County has 8,023 cases and 910 deaths. The three areas have just over 52% of confirmed cases and just over 63% of deaths.

Locally, Ingham County has 643 cases and 21 deaths while Jackson County has 414 cases and 26 deaths.

State health officials update numbers on those who have recovered from coronavirus in Michigan every Saturday, although the website says as of May 15th that the number of recoveries is 28,234 people.

The state is asking for COVID-19 volunteers with qualified medical training, experience, and health care professionals who can volunteer their expertise.

Also, Michigan residents can access confidential emotional support counseling 24/7 at no cost using the state’s COVID-19 hotline.

Michigan Stay Well counselors are available any time, day or night, by dialing the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing 8 when prompted. Language translation is available for non-English speakers.

It’s hard to remember, but just a few months ago, the graduates of the Class of 2020 seemed all but assured of success. The economy was booming. The stock market had closed the year strong. The unemployment rate, on the decline for years, had dropped to a 50-year low of 3.5 percent in February. Jobs outnumbered applicants, and fears of a recession had faded.

Then came the pandemic, shattering the economy.

“I’m supposed to be doing great,” said Tyler Lyson, a 28-year-old who won a full scholarship to the University of California-Berkeley and, on Monday, will become the first in his family to graduate from college.

For working-class students who defied the odds to get a college education, it’s hard to be optimistic about the future. There’s a sense of an unending crisis, with loans due and family members laid off.

These graduates will be competing not just with experienced workers but with those in another Class of 2020 — high school graduates who aren’t college-bound or have put their dreams on hold to join the job hunt, in some cases to help newly unemployed parents.

Others are opting for a 2-year junior college instead of a 4-year program or taking a gap year or have decided it’s not worth paying tuition for schooling that may be conducted only online. As the class of 2020 enters a world in crisis, a new symptom of COVID-19 is causing fears among health professionals.

The most common coronavirus symptoms are fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath — and some people are contagious despite never experiencing symptoms. But as this bewildering virus continues to spread, less common symptoms are being reported including loss of smell, vomiting and diarrhea, and increasingly, a variety of skin problems.

Skin problems can include red, sore and sometimes itchy swellings on toes. In one report, dermatologists evaluated 88 COVID-19 patients in an Italian hospital and found 1 in 5 had some sort of skin symptom, mostly red rashes over the trunk. In another, Spanish doctors reported a series of 375 confirmed virus patients with a range of skin complaints, from hives to chickenpox-like lesions to the toe swellings.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was one of two major European leaders who have bluntly told their citizens that the world needs to adapt to living with the coronavirus and cannot wait to be saved by the development of a vaccine.

Pushed hard by Italy’s regional leaders and weeks in advance of an earlier timetable, Conte is allowing restaurants, bars and beach facilities to open Monday, the same day that church services can resume and shops reopen.

”We are facing a calculated risk, in the awareness … that the epidemiological curve could go back up,” Conte said late Saturday. “We are confronting this risk, and we need to accept it, otherwise we would never be able to relaunch.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized last month with a serious bout of COVID-19, speculated Sunday that a vaccine may not be developed at all, despite the huge global effort to produce one.

“I said we would throw everything we could at finding a vaccine,” Johnson wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “There remains a very long way to go, and I must be frank that a vaccine might not come to fruition.”

Johnson said Britain was taking “baby steps” toward reopening, “trying to do something that has never had to be done before — moving the country out of a full lockdown.”

The comments came as nations around the world and U.S. states are both struggling with restarting economies blindsided by the pandemic. With 36 million newly unemployed in the U.S. alone, economic pressures are building even as authorities acknowledge that reopening risks off new waves of infections and deaths.

Meanwhile, in Rio de Janeiro state, which has the second highest number of deaths in Brazil, most hospitals accepting COVID-19 patients have run out of intensive care beds.

More than 15,000 Brazilians have died from the disease so far, though many experts say the figure is probably significantly higher, with cases missed because of insufficient testing. In recent days, more than 800 people have been added to the death toll every 24 hours and the crisis’ peak has yet to hit Latin America’s largest nation, the experts say.

“This disease is not kidding around. Whoever thinks it’s a joke is going to lose their life,” said José Carlos de Oliveira, health secretary for the city of Duque de Caxias, a physician who recently recovered from the virus himself.

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