Michigan has endured one of the hardest years it’s seen in modern history, as it marks one year since the first confirmed COVID case.
LANSING, Mich.—No one has been untouched.
Not the Michigan woman who awakened one morning, her wife dead by her side. Not the domestic worker in Mozambique, her livelihood threatened by the virus. Not the North Carolina mother who struggled to keep her business and her family going amid rising anti-Asian ugliness. Not the sixth-grader, exiled from the classroom in the blink of an eye.
Specifically in the mitten, the impact has been harsh. The coronavirus made 2020 Michigan’s deadliest year, driving a nearly 18% increase in deaths over 2019, according to preliminary data.
Within the first year of the pandemic, it directly claimed the lives of 15,699 Michiganders.
It was the largest annual percentage jump since at least 1900, surpassing a 15.6% increase in 1918—when the flu pandemic struck.
More than 115,300 people died in the state last year, up from about 97,800 the year before, according to the state’s vital records division. COVID-19 has been linked to nearly 16,700 deaths since February 2020. The toll was highest in April and then December.
On March 11, 2020, confirmed cases of COVID-19 stood at 125,000 nationwide, and reported deaths stood at fewer than 5,000. Today, 117 million people are confirmed to have been infected, and according to Johns Hopkins, more than 2.6 million people have died.
On that day, Italy closed shops and restaurants after locking down in the face of 10,000 reported infections. The NBA suspended its season, and Tom Hanks, filming a movie in Australia, announced he was infected.
On that evening, former President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office, announcing restrictions on travel from Europe that set off a trans-Atlantic scramble. Airports flooded with unmasked crowds in the days that followed. Soon, they were empty.
And that, for much of the world, was just the beginning. Now, a year later, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver a statewide address Wednesday afternoon, marking the one-year anniversary since Michigan’s first confirmed cases were announced and she declared an emergency.