THURSDAY NEWS HIT - After more than two months of gradual then exponential increases in new coronavirus cases, Michigan is starting to see a decline in newly reported infections.
Tests coming back positive have fallen 5% while the number of new cases reported during seven-day averages has dropped from about 7,000 cases in early April to 5,700 cases this week.
Michigan has been stymied with a third surge that arrived sooner than expected while the rest of the country watched, unsure if it would be a harbinger for things to come or a one-off.
Importantly, cases are falling in some of the state's most populous counties. Washtenaw, Oakland, Kalamazoo, Macomb, Livingston, and Ingham counties are all reporting large drops in cases. That's especially good news in Macomb, which has reported the highest number of deaths in the state.
Also promising is the plateau in new hospitalizations, something that Henry Ford Health Systems CEO said would start to emerge as awareness of Michigan's rampant infections became more well-known.
Deaths, which are a lagging indicator that usually follows an increase in infections haven't reached the previous surge's peaks, a result of the makeup of groups that are in the hospital with COVID-19. Younger people have a better chance of fighting off the disease.
It's not entirely clear what finally helped Michigan reach its apogee for new cases. Scientists are still working through why the exponential increase in cases happened in the first place. A convergence of factors from kids going back to schools to the presence of new variants is part of the reason. Yesterday, experts confirmed that the state had the highest number of B.1.1.7 infections in the country.
But where there's good news, there is also not-so-good news - Michigan's rate of vaccinations is falling. The state came close to hitting its goal of administering 100,000 shots daily. But since April 11, the number of new vaccines given out has fallen by more than 15,000.
Vaccines are why elderly people weren't filling up hospital beds in March and April. The state and cities will likely need to target more equitable distribution of vaccines while also curbing hesitancy to keep pace with meeting its goal of protecting 70% of the state's adults by the end of the year.
No one in custody after 7-year-old boy accidentally shot himself
At last check, a child who had accidentally shot himself with a gun had been upright and talking with emergency responders. Police say he had found a gun in a home and was playing with it when it went off.
Since then, no update on the case has been offered. The incident happened in the 12000 block of Prarie Street around 10:20 p.m.
Medics who responded to the scene said the child was alert when they arrived before they took him to a local hospital. There have been no arrests in connection to the incident.
Child Protective Services is currently investigating the incident.
Detroit City Council suddenly a wild card
All of a sudden, the makeup of the Detroit City Council looks a whole lot more uncertain after its president announced she would not be running for reelection yesterday. Brenda Jones decision to end 16 years on the council follows decisions from three others not to run.
Gabe Leyland, who is accused of taking bribes had already stepped down from his position and said he wouldn't be running a while ago. But for one political strategist, the decisions by Andre Spivy and Raquel Castaneda-Lopez are surprising.
"That's the biggest surprise," Adolph Mongo said, referencing Castaneda-Lopez. "She wants to be a community organizer? What better way to have a forum, is to be on the City Council?" Spivy originally said he wanted to run large before changing his mind, Mongo said.
Brenda Jones, Spivy, and Castaneda-Lopez have all been serving for at least eight years. Them stepping down means the future of the council is going to be a "wildcard." At least four people have already said they'll be running for Leyland's seat in District 4.
Mom gives birth early after Covid symptoms worsen
Prior to her positive coronavirus test, Cara Kirschner-Estrada had a perfectly normal pregnancy. The 37-year-old went into critical condition recently after her symptoms worsened, which forced doctors to perform an emergency C-section after they said the baby hadn't moved in 40 minutes.
Her baby was born 12 weeks premature and weighed just three pounds. Fortunately, "he did phenomenal. He's good to go, they took the vent out (that) same day," her brother Matthew said.
For Cara, she was originally rushed to Royal Oak Beaumont as her oxygen levels dropped. She's currently hooked up to a machine that oxygenates her blood outside her body to give her lungs a break. She's now stable, but not out of the woods. Her husband Miguel has been at home caring for their 2-year-old daughter.
"She wakes up in the morning and says, 'Mommy mommy.' The worst part is she just looks out the window in a daze wondering where she's at or why she's not there," Kirschner said.
Cara and Miguel are both self-employed and, obviously, working is not an option for either of them. Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to help.
Michigan legislature's new bill packages target transparency and jails
Lawmakers are honing in on a series of new packages that address the systemic nature of transparency and jails in the state. One package looks to boost ethical standards in the state that targets lobbying and financial disclosures. The other addresses the role that incarceration has in the state by preparing those convicted for release.
On Wednesday, House leaders looked to end the state's 'revolving door' that allows lawmakers to move into the private sector of lobbying. The new bill would prohibit them from doing so for two years after their tenure. Another bill would open the legislature and governor to public-records requests and require a supermajority to pass legislation during the 'lame-duck' session.
The Safer Michigan Act has three goals: to reduce the number of future crime victims, provide incarcerated people with a sense of hope, and create more productive communities. Lawmakers have been working on the seven bills for two years. Chief among reforms is getting inmates ready for the real world after their release.
Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) is also trying to make police officer infractions public information by putting it in a public database.
Child rescued from Redford house fire
Emergency service crews rescued a child from a house fire early Thursday morning.
Around 1 a.m., a fire broke out at an occupied dwelling in the 17300 block of Centralia near Beech Daly and 6 Mile.
Fire crews rescued one child from their bedroom. A mom and two kids were taken to a local hospital to get checked out.
There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
What else we're watching
- A lawsuit between two legal titans in Detroit is back on after the Michigan Supreme Court rejected Mike Morse's request to appeal a decision to reinstate a sexual assault case against him. Geoffrey Fieger is representing the plaintiff.
- Detroit's cannabis license distribution has been on hold since a resident sued the city over discrimination based on geography. A judge is expected to rule on a temporary restraining order on the city giving out more today.
- Today is Earth Day, the day to celebrate the environment and mother nature. But it's important to ask, what can you do for your planet?
- The state's public service commission has ruled that climate change must be factored into the decision to approve Enbridge's request for a new pipeline tunnel.
- All that cold air isn't good for the spring crops trying to grow this month. An apple orchard in Detroit has a solution though: small pit fires. Check back on FOX 2 later for more details.
Live on FOX 2
Another freezing start to the day will eventually climb up to 50 degrees as Michigan digs itself out of the winter conditions that swept through Wednesday. The weekend is shaping up to be mildly warm.
Biden to open global Earth Day summit with ambitious new US climate pledge
President Joe Biden will open a global climate summit with a pledge to cut at least in half the climate-wrecking coal and petroleum fumes that the U.S. pumps out, a commitment he hopes will spur China and other big polluters to speed up efforts of their own.
Biden is offering Americans and the world a vision of a prosperous, clean-energy United States where factories churn out cutting-edge batteries for export, line workers re-lay an efficient national electrical grid and crews cap abandoned oil and gas rigs and coal mines.
His commitment to cut U.S. fossil fuel emissions up to 52% by 2030 — similar to pledges from allies — will come at the launch Thursday of an all-virtual climate summit for 40 world leaders, marking a return by the U.S. to global climate efforts after four years of withdrawal under President Donald Trump
The Biden administration's pledge would require by far the most ambitious U.S. climate effort ever undertaken, nearly doubling the reductions that the Obama administration had committed to in the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.