Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

A new statistic is shedding light on the coronavirus impact across Michigan.

MICHIGAN —  Thursday’s numbers have been released and state officials are introducing a new number to make sense of the virus’ impact in Michigan: the case fatality rate. A CFR measures the percentage of total cases that have resulted in deaths. 

Michigan’s current CFR as of Thursday afternoon is 7%.

CFR is not the same thing as the overall mortality rate of a disease. 

CFR measures present deaths against the number of confirmed cases at a given point in time, making it more an assessment of the risk of fatality than an actual measure of what percentage will live or die. Preliminary CFR information taken during a pandemic like the coronavirus also tends to run lower than final CFR data because not all presently active cases will end in survival.

CFR, and most medical statistics, also sample confirmed cases which in a pandemic where testing is not available on a wide scale and has a significant rate of false negatives, means the CFR — and indeed all the data we’re gathering — aren’t tracking the most mild forms of the disease. There also are cases like Dickinson County where the CFR is an alarming 67%, but that represents only three confirmed cases resulting in two deaths. 

But CFR is remarkably useful in both monitoring the present risk rate of a disease and in comparing one population to another. In the case of Thursday’s numbers from the State of Michigan, the CFR shows county-to-county comparisons of how many infected patients have died. Because a large number of Michigan counties have relatively few confirmed cases and a low case count can cause CFR to swing wildly, The Gander is comparing counties with more than 200 cases.

For instance, we can identify that the City of Detroit exactly represents the statewide average of 7%, with nearly a quarter of the state’s total cases. This means that although situations like The ‘Gander reported at Sinai Grace Medical Center are alarming, Detroit itself is not losing coronavirus patients at a higher rate than the state’s average. 

Oakland County similarly roughly matched the state average of 7% while the CFRs of Wayne and Macomb Counties ran slightly higher, at 8% and 9% respectively. Genesee County also had a CFR of 9%.

Comparing the counties around Metro Detroit to counties with between 200 and 1,000 cases, we can see that places like St. Clair County, Jackson County, Ingham County and Washtenaw County all run below 4% CFR. Saginaw County’s nearly 400 cases come the closest to the state average among these counties with a CFR of 6%. 

It appears from this information that those counties less overwhelmed are having better survivorship results at least at the moment. 

The day-over-day new case count for Thursday is 1,204 for a total of 29,263 cases, and the day-over-day death count is 172 for a total of 2,093. That represents a rise in the daily new cases compared to Wednesday, though Thursday’s number still represents a decline from earlier in the week. The death rate dropped off from Wednesday’s spike back to around where it was Tuesday. 

According to the daily update from the state, the county-level breakdown is as follows:

  • Alcona: 1  
  • Allegan: 25  
  • Alpena: 2  
  • Antrim: 9  
  • Arenac:7  
  • Baraga:1  
  • Barry: 20 (1death, 5% CFR)
  • Bay: 67 (2 deaths, 3% CFR)
  • Berrien: 133 (7 deaths, 5% CFR)
  • Branch: 31 (2 deaths, 6% CFR)
  • Calhoun: 119 (4 deaths, 3% CFR)
  • Cass: 19 (1 death, 5% CFR)
  • Charlevoix: 11 (1 death, 9% CFR)
  • Cheboygan: 12 (1 death, 8% CFR)
  • Clare: 7 (1 death, 14% CFR)
  • Clinton: 102 (6 deaths, 6% CFR)
  • Crawford: 18 (1 death, 6% CFR)
  • Delta: 10 (1 death, 10% CFR)
  • Dickinson: 3 (2 deaths, 67% CFR)
  • Eaton: 84 (5 deaths, 6% CFR)
  • Emmet: 21 (2 deaths, 10% CFR)
  • Genesee: 1147 (99 deaths, 9% CFR)
  • Gladwin: 8
  • Gogebic: 4 (1 death, 25% CFR)
  • Grand Traverse: 17 (3 deaths, 18% CFR)
  • Gratiot: 7
  • Hillsdale: 84 (9 deaths, 11% CFR)
  • Houghton 2
  • Huron: 8
  • Ingham: 278 (6 deaths, 2% CFR)
  • Ionia: 20 (2 deaths, 10% CFR)
  • Iosco: 6 (1 death, 17% CFR)
  • Isabella: 45 (5 deaths, 11% CFR)
  • Jackson: 209 (8 deaths, 4% CFR)
  • Kalamazoo: 118 (8 deaths, 7% CFR)
  • Kalkaska: 17 (2 deaths. 12% CFR)
  • Kent: 385 (17 deaths, 4% CFR)
  • Lake: 2
  • Lapeer: 131 (13 deaths, 10% CFR)
  • Leelanau: 6 
  • Lenawee: 59
  • Livingston: 263 (9 deaths, 3% CFR)
  • Luce: 1
  • Mackinac: 4
  • Macomb: 3992 (354 deaths. 9% CFR)
  • Manistee: 11
  • Marquette: 27 (5 deaths, 19% CFR)
  • Mason: 4 
  • Mecosta: 11 (1 death, 9% CFR)
  • Menominee: 1
  • Midland: 41 (1 death, 2% CFR)
  • Missaukee: 3 (1 death. 33% CFR)
  • Monroe: 217 (10 deaths. 5% CFR)
  • Montcalm: 23 (1 death, 4% CFR)
  • Montmorency: 2 
  • Muskegon: 110 (5 deaths. 5% CFR)
  • Newaygo: 7
  • Oakland: 5778 (420 deaths, 7% CFR)
  • Oceana: 3 (1 death, 33% CFR)
  • Ogemaw: 5
  • Osceola: 6
  • Oscoda: 4
  • Otsego: 44 (2 deaths, 5% CFR)
  • Ottawa: 82 (2 deaths. 2% CFR)
  • Presque Isle: 2
  • Roscommon: 9
  • Saginaw: 349 (20 deaths, 6% CFR)
  • Sanilac: 25 (2 deaths, 8% CFR)
  • Schoolcraft: 3
  • Shiawassee: 70 (2 deaths. 3% CFR)
  • St Clair: 232 (8 deaths, 3% CFR) 
  • St Joseph: 23 (1 death, 4% CFR)
  • Tuscola: 50 (10 deaths, 20% CFR)
  • Van Buren: 26 (2 deaths, 8% CFR)
  • Washtenaw: 826 (25 deaths, 3% CFR)
  • Wayne: 5619 (435 deaths, 8% CFR)
  • Wexford: 7 (1 death, 14% CFR)
  • Michigan Department of Corrections: 486 (12 deaths, 2% CFR)
  • Federal Corrections Institute: 39  
  • Unknown: 76 (4 deaths, 5% CFR)
  • Out of State: 144 (2 deaths, 1% CFR)

Total: 29,263 cases, 2093 deaths

The New York Times reports that 657,230 Americans have confirmed positive for the coronavirus, and the national daily death count routinely hovers between 1,000 and 2,000. Compared to other states, Michigan remains fourth in case count and third in death toll, though fifth by percent of population. 

After being taken to task by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer among others, President Trump will not unilaterally end national quarantine efforts, reports the Washington Post. However, the White House is expected to release guidelines to governors about the process of ending shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders Thursday evening.