Detroit region no longer a hot spot as Covid curve turns in promising direction

May 06, 2020, 4:51 PM by  Alan Stamm

The dark red and black lines show seven-day averages. "Detroit" includes six suburban and exurban counties. (Charts: The Upshot/New York Times)

There never will be any pandemic news to cheer, this year or ever. Too many suffer and too many are lost.

Yet steps toward somewhat brighter days, such as this encouraging trend above, are worth tracking and welcoming for the promise they carry.

Detroit and the surrounding six counties – Michigan's most populous region – rank as "flat or decreasing" for new cases and deaths on a New York Times interactive database of metropolitan areas with more than 50,000 people.

The Southeast Michigan area ranks 82nd for new Covid cases in the past two weeks with a rate of 1.33 new diagnoses per 1,000 residents. (As of Tuesday, that's 5,766 cases among 4.3 million people in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer Livingston and St. Clair, a federally designated metropolitan statistical area with 4.3 million people.)

The region ranks 10th for new deaths from the lung virus in the past 14 days, with 0.27 per 1,000 people (1,155 fatalities recorded through Tuesday).

Though the raw numbers remain high, they no longer climb as alarmingly.

The region's average daily growth rate of new cases is 1% over the past week – 229th nationally. At that rate, Southeast Michigan's cumulative total doubles every 77 days, according to The Times' analysis. 

Deaths rose 2% over the past week, which means they'd double every 35 days. The Detroit metro area ranks 129th in this category.

Here are the six-county overall totals from March 1 through May 5, with fatalities still among the top five nationwide:

  • Cases: 31,579 | 23rd highest nationally | 7.3 per 1,000 people

  • Deaths: 3,432 | 5th highest nationally | .79 per 1,000 residents

Commenting on similar curve-flattening shown for all of Michigan at The Atlantic's Covid Tracking Project, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist -- a Detroiter -- tweets Wednesday: "We may never know how many lives were saved by taking quick and aggressive action. But we can safely say that the Stay Home, Stay Safe order is working."

The governor also shared the magazine's new chart:    

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