Detroit takes vaccine promotion on the road, pack of coyotes have residents on edge, a cough syrup scheme

The city of Detroit is taking its vaccine promotion show on the road, traveling door-to-door to encourage any skeptics and help anyone who has trouble accessing information about the shot or where they can get it.

So far, the city has knocked on thousands of doors since it took outreach to the neighborhoods this weekend.

The city wants to promote its walk-in sites at the TCF Center and the community engagement buildings that many of Detroit's neighborhoods are only a short distance away.

"We are knocking on doors because we want to get the word about our walk-in locations and make it easy for everyone to take advantage of these life-saving vaccines," Detroit Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair said in a release reported by The Associated Press.

In addition to the community centers which offer services every day, select churches are open on Saturdays to provide shots to residents who want them.

Detroit is in full-court press mode as it continues to lag behind neighboring counties that are keeping pace with the state's rollout. So far, 31% of Detroit has gotten at least one shot, compared to the 50% statewide.

In Oakland County, almost 60% have gotten the shot. Macomb County is near 50% and the remainder of Wayne County is at 55%.

Black populations are among those most hesitant about getting the shot. While other groups may prefer to trust their gut over the advice of experts, minority populations have had an unequal history with medicine and may feel skeptical for different reasons than others might.

But people are still getting infected and dying of COVID-19, tragedies in many cases where physicians find themselves caring for those who were eligible for the shot but had waited to get it.

So far, more than 2,000 residents in Detroit have died from the pandemic.

Pack of Coyotes has Detroit community on edge

There used to be more than a dozen stray cats that roamed Colleen Brooks' neighborhood on Stout Street, just south of 7 Mile Road. Now there are only two and she's pretty sure she knows what happened to them. 

"I believe the coyotes ate them," she said. "Last night while my husband and I were coming in, we heard either an animal, I think we heard a dog too, and it sounded like they were crying like they were being attacked."

The urban sprawl then mass vacancy of Detroit has created a hospitable region for scavengers like coyotes, which have been very active in some neighborhoods, putting its residents on edge. Usually, they're only out at night - but it's their breeding season which means there are more mouths to feed.

"The changes in Detroit with the nice habitat being created with the vacant lots and vacant homes and things like that, do create additional habitat for coyotes," said Holly Vaughn, with the DNR. She recommends removing any food sources outside the house that are laying around.

Flushing out the Taylor Sump Pump Chump

Meet Ethan, a plumber who is a real drip. He says he's a drain expert, but customers say all he is good at is draining their wallets. Then he fills them up with excuses. But on Facebook, he goes by the cool nickname Ethan Mack and uses the platform to find customers.

Isabel and her boyfriend received an estimate from Ethan for $3,200 in repairs to a sump pump in their home. Instead, he broke up their cement basement and never came back. Since then, he's made several excuses including his mom fell down the stairs, making sure he didn't have Covid, a buddy got killed, and getting stuck at Belle Tire.

A little digging found that Ethan doesn't have a valid driver's license - it's suspended. There's also no sign on his truck showing his company name. In fact, there's no license on the truck at all.

Goldie has a similar story that included a $3,200 down payment to purchase and install a generator. But instead, it became a game of excuses all over again, including allergies, food poisoning, flu, and he lost his contacts.

You can bet you know where this is going. Learn more about Rob Wolchek's latest entrance into the Hall of Shame here.

Livonia Pharmacy accused of prescription cough syrup scheme

An employee Medpro Pharmacy on Middlebelt Road in Livonia is being investigated by federal law enforcement over an alleged multi-million dollar prescription cough syrup scheme

Drug enforcement agents raided a Dearborn home last week in connection to the illegal sale of the medicine, which can be used as an opioid cocktail. Sometimes it's called sizzurp. "In the medical industry, I think we consider the so-called 'purple drank' to be really a combo of the codeine and promethazine," said Dr. Asha Shajahan, a medical professional with Beaumont Health.

Sources close to the investigation provided FOX 2 with a photo of a large sum of cash seized from the Dearborn house. The source said the photo is of about $15 million.

No one at the home that was raided last Thursday had any comment. The DEA also released a statement that the investigation had yielded "an undetermined amount of U.S. currency during the execution of a search warrant April 29." No charges have been filed.

FDA expected to authorize Pfizer vaccine for teens

Herd immunity is increasingly feeling like a pipe dream among experts in America as the divide over vaccines becomes starker with those refusing to get the shot not budging. The oversupply means America will likely be shipping its vaccines around the world as demand falls. 

It also means COVID-19 may linger for longer. However, more groups could be getting the protection soon as the FDA has confirmed it will likely by authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for kids 12 years and older. It was recently approved for use by those age 16 and older.

A preliminary study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers age 12-15 showed no cases of COVID-19 among those fully vaccinated. There were 18 cases among those who were given a placebo.

Vaccinating adolescents has been viewed as an increasingly important group to protect since they are around more people in school and make infection easier. Pfizer said kids had side effects similar to young adults. The main side effects are pain, fever, chills, and fatigue, particularly after the second dose.

Double shooting during alleged robbery in Detroit

A detective with Detroit police says two victims were shot after an alleged robbery attempt occurred on Montrose Street near Grand River early Tuesday morning when someone walked up to a Jeep and started shooting in it.

Police say the Jeep had two men in it and it was struck nine times. One of the victims was struck five times as well. 

One of the individuals in the truck had been showing off some jewelry on social media, leading them to believe the suspect shooter had targeted them for the valuables. 

The two men attempted to escape the shooting before they crashed into a silver sedan. They then jumped out and ran down the alley toward an auto parts store to get help from the security guard there. The victim is in critical condition and the suspect shooter is missing.

What else we're watching

  1. Google is developing a search engine with the city of Detroit that helps residents find affordable housing options. Thirteen employees with the company will work with the Department of Housing and Revitalization Development.
  2. The state of New Jersey is offering free beer to Covid vaccine recipients. There was more than one Michigan-based personality online when the news broke that thought Michigan would have success with a similar promotion. Be on the lookout for any promotions.
  3. The Wayne County Treasurer's office scaled back operations at its call center due to staffing shortages, the Detroit Free Press reported, creating a backlog for people with back taxes that need to set up payment plans and avoid foreclosure.
  4.  Ford Field is entering the final two weeks of its mass vaccine operations and plans to switch over to the Johnson & Johnson one-shot dose. It's available for the first time today.
  5. Bill and Melinda Gates have announced they will be getting a divorce. While relationships between rich people are oftentimes more cosmetic news, the duo runs one of the largest charities and their decision will likely rock the philanthropic world.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Less rain and similar temperatures are expected for Tuesday. A chance of rain will remain throughout the day. More of the same tomorrow.

American Rescue Plan could make 2021 tax bill $0 for those making less than $75K

President Joe Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion relief package which was signed into law in March slashed taxes for lower-income Americans. 

According to a recent report from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, Americans who make between $75,000 and $100,000 a year will pay an average tax rate of just 1.8%. Taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 annually will pay no taxes, on average, in 2021.

The broadly nonexistent federal tax bill for those making less than $75,000 is thanks to a variety of provisions in the American Rescue Plan, including a historic Child Tax Credit as well as federal stimulus payments. 

It’s a stark contrast from the 2.4% average tax rate that many who earned between $50,000 and $75,000 had to pay in 2018.