Kwame Kilpatrick preaches, new vaccine effort hits Detroit's streets, 6 hospitalized in Sunday crash

A new COVID-19 vaccine effort in Detroit begins Monday when the city will begin reaching out to its residents directly about getting the shot.

The initiative, announced last week, is a redoubling of effort to improve access to the coronavirus vaccine for residents that are both vulnerable to COVID-19 and struggle with face systemic challenges preventing them from getting the shot.

Currently, Detroit is struggling to keep pace with vaccine coverage, compared to the rest of the state. Only 36.2% of its residents have received at least one dose. That's 25% less than outer Wayne County and the rest of the state.

The homebound vaccine campaign is made up of 150 teams that will get in touch with households in the city and offer to vaccinate those residents and any other member of the household that has not yet gotten the shot.

"In Detroit, we have built a vaccination strategy that meets people where they are, specifically in the neighborhoods, at parks and other gathering sites, to reach as many people as we can," said Chief Public Health Officer, Denise Fair.

Fair's team is partnering with several organizations like The Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Wayne Health, Maternal Infant Health Program Providers, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"We know the homebound senior population better than any other organization in this community, so we had to step up when the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out did not immediately address the needs of homebound seniors," said Ronald Taylor, President, and CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging.

Detroit has attempted neighborhood-based vaccine campaigns before. Months ago, the city spent a week at different community centers in each of its districts, where health officials were administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

However, interest in the campaign was swept away after the federal government put a pause on J&J vaccines over the potential connection the shot had to blood clots. While the move is not abnormal of the Food and Drug Administration to pause the rollout to further study side effects, the decision had a compounding effect on vaccine hesitancy. 

The city pivoted to offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in response. 

Yet, the city has still struggled to improve its coverage. Skepticism about getting the shot is different around the state. While Black Detroiters recall historic inequities and racism in the medical field, other groups have other reasons to distrust. 

Kwame preaches in first public appearance

"Here's the problem with most of us - We gotta see it, to believe it," the former mayor said, pointing to his eyes then gesturing away. "If I had to see getting out of prison after I got out of prison, I would never have gotten out of prison."

In a fiery sermon delivered at the historic Little Rock Baptist Church, the ex-mayor-turned-minister told a packed crowd "it's time to live" during a Sunday service.

Details of Kilpatrick's time in prison were sprinkled throughout his discussions of faith, including his own journey finding religion that he says helped get him through his darkest days in solitary confinement amid his 28-year sentence. 

The ex-con's complicated relationship with his city was in full display Sunday when he appeared to have acceptance among many of Detroit's most vocal advocates. Pastor Maurice Hardwick said the deliverance was "truly amazing to see" and will be beneficial for inspiring youth about how to respond to adversity. "You can be locked up, but not locked out."

6 hospitalized in I-75 crash

Six people including a child were in the hospital after a major wreck on I-75 in Melvindale early Sunday evening.  

The crash closed northbound lanes on the highway for much of the evening. Police observed a vehicle flipped on its roof with several people trapped inside, prompting calls for fire departments to help cut them out.

Michigan State police say all six people were transported to either Detroit Receiving Hospital or Children's Hospital. It is unknown how many of the people in the car were children, as MSP did not provide ages for any of the victims. All six are listed in serious or critical conditions.

According to the investigation, police believe the woman who was driving the car that caused the crash was driving at a high speed when she lost control of the vehicle and hit the median wall, and rolled over. They also say it appears alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Partnership starts monthly internet stipend

A new campaign to help close Detroit's digital divide will provide a monthly $50 internet access credit and one-time $100 subsidy for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet to eligible city residents.

The EBB 313 program streamlines access to the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a federal program that subsidizes the cost of internet and technological devices for eligible households, which include those at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or that participate in certain assistance programs.

However, the application process requires internet at nearly every step, creating a barrier for those most in need of support, according to Darienne Hudson, president and chief executive of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Detroit's area code is 313. The campaign was announced this week.

Gas prices spike 15 cents in Michigan

Gas prices hit their highest price in six-and-a-half years this week when a gallon of gas rose to $3.17 in Michigan.

AAA says that's the highest gas has been since October of 2014. It's also 22 cents more than this time last month and $1.06 more than this time last year. "Motorists are paying an average of $47 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline," read a release from AAA.

While supplies have increase and demand has fallen, the price of crude oil has instead sent the value of gas up. In Metro Detroit, the average daily gas price was up to $3.19.

The same trend is happening across much of the Midwest.

What else we're watching

  1. A protest of ongoing lawsuits challenging the Detroit City Charter and other election-based institutions is scheduled for Monday morning at 10 a.m. Organizers say they are rallying to 'raise awareness about the suppression of our democracy."
  2. The governor is in Oakland County this morning with a "historic investment to expand access to child care" announcement before moving on to Highland Park for an executive directive for LGBTQ+ people
  3. It's Dog Bite Awareness Week, which brings awareness to USPS letter carriers that face dog attacks thousands of times a year.
  4. 2020 was a deadly year for swimming in Lake Michigan. Last year, there were 56 drowning incidents. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project seeks to change that.
  5. Pato O'Ward won the Detroit Grand Prix for the sexond time on Snday. 

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Daily Forecast

The brutal heat wave last week will take a backseat to cooler temperatures for the next several days. There is also some rain and heavy winds expected throughout Monday.

Novavax says COVID-19 vaccine about 90% effective in large study

Vaccine maker Novavax said Monday its shot was highly effective against COVID-19 and also protected against variants in a large, late-stage study in the U.S. and Mexico.

The vaccine was about 90% effective overall and preliminary data showed it was safe, the company said.

While demand for COVID-19 shots in the U.S. has dropped off dramatically, the need for more vaccines around the world remains critical. The Novavax vaccine, which is easy to store and transport, is expected to play an important role in boosting vaccine supplies in the developing world.

That help is still months away, however. The company says it plans to seek authorization for the shots in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere by the end of September and be able to produce up to 100 million doses a month by then.