Why we aren’t Florida

COVID cases are rising in Michigan, but not as much as Texas or Florida. Why are we not in the "red zone"?

Michigan’s new COVID-19 case count is rising every week. By the latest count, the seven day moving average is 618 new cases per day.

It’s a worrying number, yet not as bad as it could be. A leaked White House document shows that Michigan is not among the 18 states currently in the “red zone,” defined as experiencing more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people.

Among those in the “red zone” are states like Florida, which is averaging 11,865 cases per day, and Texas, with 10,254 cases per day as of Saturday.

How is Michigan different from some other states that are seeing exploding COVID-19 infections? An article in Bridge Magazine indicates there are four criteria state health officials are watching:

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  • Positive test rates
  • Increasing case numbers
  • Hospitalizations
  • Deaths

Currently, Michigan’s positive test rate is low. Just about 4% of tests come back positive, which is a relief to Michiganders. In Arizona, the positive test rate is closer to 25%.

While case numbers are rising in Michigan, hospitals’ capacity to deal with them is currently manageable.

Finally, deaths from COVID-19 have remained low. Part of that is due to the demographics of those who have tested positive recently – largely young adults.

Experts warn that deaths are a lagging indicator, which means that people who die from the coronavirus usually do so several weeks from the time they test positive. If Michigan’s death rate increases, we won’t know for at least a couple weeks.

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