Infographic by Tania Lili
Infographic by Tania Lili

Michigan’s recorded recoveries have spiked again to nearly 23,000. But what exactly does recovering in Michigan mean battling the pandemic of a lifetime?

MICHIGAN — Each weekend, Michigan reports the number of confirmed coronavirus cases declared recovered. For the two-month anniversary, the number of patients recovering in Michigan was 22,686. That number is almost half of the total cases of the novel coronavirus. 

But the state considering someone “recovered” doesn’t mean that those Michiganders are back to normal.

The state notes that its definition of recovery just means people who have survived 30 days from their initial onset of symptoms. The ‘Gander noted that the spike of recoveries in early May is the result of a month passing since the spike of infections in April. But just surviving doesn’t mean being better, as Bridge explained

“Heavens no. ‘Recovered’ is when you can go back to work [and] when you can walk to the mailbox and not struggle to breathe,” Nancy Blodgett, a coronavirus survivor from Portage, told Bridge. “‘Recovered’ … is when you get your life back. It will take some time.”

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Bridge also notes that Michigan’s definition of recovery is a bit more loose than most other states. With the disease being so new — “novel”, in medical terms — it can be hard to know what point to set for a standard of recovery. Iis the standard seeing symptoms resolved? That’s how Wisconsin decides who is recovered. Could the standard be viral load? That would require more regular testing at a time when Michigan is struggling to accommodate the new daily tests it needs to reach its goals. 

Recovering in Michigan just means not dead.

That isn’t to say the number isn’t useful. It absolutely is. While many of the people recovering in Michigan are still living with longer-term impacts from the coronavirus, based on available knowledge surviving the 30 day window appears to indicate surviving the coronavirus. But those recoveries often have a road ahead of them as it relates to getting well.

“The doctors keep telling me they can’t tell me what’s going to happen,” Jeff Curtis of Osseo told Bridge. “They can’t tell me what’s normal and what’s not. It’s too new.”

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Because this coronavirus is novel, there isn’t a national definition of what recovery means. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working on a definition at the moment, but in the interim it’s up to states to decide. Some, like Ohio, aren’t even trying. And while Michigan defends its standard as the point at which death is unlikely, it doesn’t really feel like recovery to many of those 22,686 Michiganders.

“I have a day that seems like I’ll be OK, and then the next I can’t get out of bed,” said Curtis. “I go out on my porch every day and cry. That’s not me.”

Curtis and Blodgett are two of the 48,021 Michiganders who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus as of Tuesday. Though they represent Michigan’s recoveries, 4,674 haven’t been so lucky.

This makes Michigan’s Case Fatality Rate steady at 9.7%. The fatality rate in Detroit, specifically, is 12.2%. Meanwhile, with 1,365,037 confirmed cases nationwide and 81,571 deaths as reported by CNN, America’s average fatality rate remains just under 6%.

Tuesday added 469 new diagnoses and 71 new deaths. In addition, 19 deaths previously unreported have been identified and added to the Michigan Disease Surveillance System.

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

  • Alcona: 4 (1 death)
  • Allegan: 161 (2 deaths)  
  • Alpena: 87 (8 deaths)
  • Antrim: 10 
  • Arenac:28 (1 death)  
  • Baraga: 1
  • Barry: 52 (1 death)
  • Bay: 214 (10 deaths)
  • Benzie: 4
  • Berrien: 411 (25 deaths)
  • Branch: 82 (2 deaths)
  • Calhoun: 275 (17 deaths)
  • Cass: 43 (2 deaths)
  • Charlevoix: 13 (1 death)
  • Cheboygan: 19 (1 death)
  • Chippewa: 2
  • Clare: 12 (2 deaths)
  • Clinton: 126 (10 deaths)
  • Crawford: 57 (4 death)
  • Delta: 15 (2 deaths)
  • Dickinson: 5 (2 deaths)
  • Eaton: 152 (6 deaths)
  • Emmet: 21 (2 deaths)
  • Genesee: 1,782 (225 deaths)
  • Gladwin: 18 (1 death)
  • Gogebic: 4 (1 death)
  • Grand Traverse: 21 (5 deaths)
  • Gratiot: 33 (2 deaths)
  • Hillsdale: 152 (22 deaths)
  • Houghton 2
  • Huron: 36 (1 death)
  • Ingham: 594 (17 deaths)
  • Ionia: 110 (3 deaths)
  • Iosco: 55 (8 deaths)
  • Isabella: 61 (7 deaths)
  • Jackson: 401 (26 deaths)
  • Kalamazoo: 636 (36 deaths)
  • Kalkaska: 17 (2 deaths)
  • Kent: 2,416 (45 deaths)
  • Lake: 2
  • Lapeer: 175 (30 deaths)
  • Leelanau: 9
  • Lenawee: 129 (2 deaths)
  • Livingston: 377 (22 deaths)
  • Luce: 1
  • Mackinac: 6
  • Macomb: 6,097 (710 deaths)
  • Manistee: 11
  • Marquette: 51 (10 deaths)
  • Mason:23
  • Mecosta: 16 (2 deaths)
  • Menominee: 6
  • Midland: 67 (8 deaths)
  • Missaukee: 16 (1 death)
  • Monroe: 399 (18 deaths)
  • Montcalm: 47 (1 death)
  • Montmorency: 5
  • Muskegon: 401 (20 deaths)
  • Newaygo: 36
  • Oakland: 7,784 (872 deaths)
  • Oceana: 34 (1 death)
  • Ogemaw: 15
  • Osceola: 9
  • Oscoda: 5 (1 death)
  • Otsego: 98 (10 deaths)
  • Ottawa: 430 (20 deaths)
  • Presque Isle: 11
  • Roscommon: 20
  • Saginaw: 829 (87 deaths)
  • Sanilac: 38 (5 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft: 4
  • Shiawassee: 214 (18 deaths)
  • St Clair: 366 (28 deaths) 
  • St Joseph: 71 (1 death)
  • Tuscola: 162 (17 deaths)
  • Van Buren: 94 (4 deaths)
  • Washtenaw: 1,206 (82 deaths)
  • Wayne: 18,274 (2,140 deaths) (Detroit alone has 9,897 cases and 1,213 deaths)
  • Wexford: 11 (2 deaths)
  • Michigan Department of Corrections: 2,144 (55 deaths)
  • Federal Corrections Institute: 114 (3 deaths)
  • Unknown 8
  • Out of State 75

Total: 48,021 cases, 4,674 deaths