Several signs of the pandemic's waning sway over lives in Michigan and the U.S. continue to be validated by encouraging statistics reported by the state and the subsequent ending of epidemic orders from the health department.
A threat to public health remains. The state reported another 327 cases of COVID-19 and 35 deaths over a three-day period on Monday. But the transmission rate has softened to nearly 100 new cases a day which is similar to the rate of Michigan's best days last summer. And the low number of infections isn't just attributed to lockdown measures but immunity.
So far 61.2% of the state is covered by some form of protection from a vaccine. Another 42,587 people got their first vaccine shot last week, which is similar to the previous two weeks. About 55.8% of the state has completed their two-shot recommendation - or one-shot if it's the Johnson & Johnson variant.
Here is a breakdown of Southeast Michigan county vaccine rate coverages:
- Wayne County - 62.83%
- Washtenaw County - 66.95%
- Oakland County - 66.41%
- Macomb County - 55.42%
- St. Clair County - 48.71%
- Livingston County - 57.92%
At least one county, Leelanau, has already hit 75% coverage.
But the state has its work cut out for it. Several counties in the middle and southern portions of the state are below 50% coverage. In Hillsdale and Cass County, rates are in the mid-30s.
And in Detroit, only 37.4% of the city's residents are vaccinated - about 207.937.
Regardless of the reason behind the hesitancy, a lack of protection is a problem as it can lead to more infections, more deaths, the potential for a new and more deadly variant of COVID-19, and an unbalanced immunity across the state.
"We're not COVID-free yet. Remember that to wash our hands, keep our distances as needed, and just enjoy the spaces that we're able to provide," said Shahida Mausi, president and CEO of The Right Productions.
Michigan could continue to see flare-ups of the coronavirus in places that vaccines haven't made as much progress, which could prolong the disease's presence in Michigan and its threat to vulnerable populations.
Tuesday is significant not for the increase of protection, but the scaling back of pandemic orders.
Some restrictions for nursing homes and prisons will remain, but event limits, capacity restrictions, mask mandates, and most other health orders that residents have needed to navigate through the last year-and-a-half are now lifted.
Murder victim's daughter left with $13K home demolition bill
Emily Shankie's mother was killed by gunfire in 2019. But the consequences of her mom's murder are still rippling for her after she was informed by the city of St. Clair Shores she will need to foot the bill for a house demolition where her mom lived.
The $13,600 demo is only necessary because the man who shot her mom eventually barricaded himself in the home for 24 hours. Police used many tactics to end the standoff before opting to rip down a portion of the house. "And in the process, it became uninhabitable," said Emily Calabrese, Lakeshore Legal Aid.
Calabrese's firm is representing Shankie in pleading with the city council to take some action. Legally, the debt to demolish the home was upheld in court. But in their eyes, it's a moral issue. "We support each other and this sends the wrong message to everyone surrounding us," said Shankie.
"To absorb the $13,600 is less than .25 cents a citizen," said Calabrese. About 24 people spoke on her behalf during the meeting while many others in the community have reached out to the council in support of Shankie’s situation.
Infant found alone in home with murdered parents
A grizzly murder scene was found in Detroit Monday morning when someone went to check on their family in the 1800 block of Northlawn and discovered the bodies of two parents and a 9-month-old toddler.
Inside, police found a 31-year-old man bound, gagged, and executed upstairs. His 27-year-old girlfriend was found shot and killed in the basement. The 9-month-old child was found alone but unharmed.
"Some family members came to check, they hadn’t heard anything from anybody in a minute," said another neighbor, Irene Walker. "And, they managed to get the front window open, and discovered the scene, and got the baby out and asked me to call 911."
Sources say the shooting may have happened sometime Sunday or overnight and that the perpetrator knew the victims. Police say they recovered a weapon inside the home, but don’t know if the firearm was used in the shooting.
Warren police officer fired for racist comments online
The Warren police officer that allegedly left racist comments on social media has been fired from the department.
An internal review was launched after Warren police received a complaint in mid-June regarding an incident on Facebook where one of their officers had posted several comments about Black people, including he was glad he wasn't born Black because he'd kill himself.
The probe determined the officer had violated department policies and Commissioner Bill Dwyer terminated the officer's employment.
"These types of actions will not be tolerated by Commissioner Dwyer or by the City of Warren Police Department. They do not reflect the men and women of this Department, nor the values of this Department," read a release from the department. "This appropriate action demonstrates how seriously the City of Warren Police Department views statements or acts of racism by any of its members. They will not be tolerated."
Woman battles Hazel Park to keep her pig
Dogs, pets, and birds are allowed as pets in Hazel Park. But for Tater the pig, he can't stay. That's creating some consternation for Angel Schneidt and her family who hopes the city will make an exception.
"It would be like saying goodbye to my son and never seeing him again," she said. "I want to cry now, thinking about it."
Schneidt said her son brought home Tater, a dwarf pig, earlier in February and he's been right at home. But the city says Tater needs to be rehomed. Ed Klobuchar, the city manager, says owning a pig violates city ordinances.
In the past, they've made exceptions but because the family isn't cooperating with animal control. He also said Schneidt has a history of blight citations and minor animal control complaints.
What else we're watching
- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to hold a press conference in Detroit to highlight the state's full reopening and a plan to increase wages. She'll speak around noon.
- The Woodward Dream Cruise is returning in full capacity this August for a return to classic car traditions and normalcy. Ford will sponsor the event.
- The country's eviction moratorium will lift on June 30. Anyone in need of resources can find help here.
- The Senate is going to perform a test vote on new voting legislation that passed the House earlier this year. The GOP will likely block the measure in a controversial and dramatic example of the filibuster.
- Yesterday was World Giraffe Day. Here's a video to celebrate the long-necked spotted mammals.
Live on FOX 2
Temperatures dipped in the morning to a ‘refreshingly cool’ mid-40s as Southeast Michigan reel from its humid-stricken week last week. It won't get beyond the mid-60s today before temperatures rebound later in the week. Expect some cloud cover but no precipitation.
‘I’m gay’: Carl Nassib becomes 1st active NFL player to come out
Defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders Carl Nassib revealed he’s gay in a lengthy social media post Monday.
"I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay," the 28-year-old said in a video posted on Instagram. "I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."
Nassib wrote that he will donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization aimed at preventing suicides among LGBTQ youth. According to the organization, LGBTQ youth are five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.