Tracking Michigan's plummeting COVID-19 cases

Wednesday was a special day for Michigan's pandemic status when the state reported 257 more COVID-19 cases.

One would have to trace the public health crisis back almost an entire year to see daily caseloads as low as what was reported earlier this week.

While the state has been past its third surge peak for more than two months, the decline represents a different kind of improvement because it is piggybacking off of several other encouraging metrics that don't just include a smaller test positivity rate.

After a steady decline in first-dose vaccinations in April, the month of May saw the rate of vaccine administrations actually increase again. The state is now well beyond the venue capacity restrictions that were in place even when fewer cases were being reported last summer. 

And who can remember the last time they saw mask recommendations instead of requirements on the front doors of restaurants.

Here's a series of metrics that help capture the state of Michigan's pandemic:

Almost 60% vaccinated

Almost two-thirds of Michigan's population has received their first dose of the vaccine. Currently, 59.8% of the state has been covered. That's still 10% away from the unofficial herd immunity goal set by health officials late last year when vaccines first became available.

Much of the state's reopening was contingent on meeting vaccine benchmarks. While that is no longer the case due to a slower-than-hoped-for administration, Michigan was still predicted to reach its goal by August, which included the diminishing rate, according to the University of Michigan

According to state data, vaccine rates are even higher in the state's most populated counties:

  • Wayne County (not Detroit), 61.21% vaccinate
  • Oakland County, 64.9% vaccinated
  • Washtenaw County, 65.7% vaccinated

One county, Leelanau, has vaccinated 73.9% of its citizens. That includes Traverse City

Three-quarters of patients 65 and older protected

Buried in the data are some encouraging metrics about Michigan's most vulnerable. 

Almost 80% of people 65 and older have gotten at least one shot. COVID-19 was particularly harsh on older populations due to preconditions and the body's ability to ward off infections in an elderly state.

But improving that number is a key indicator for how many more could die from the disease. 

Third-largest decline in U.S.

According to the New York Times coronavirus tracker, Michigan has the third-biggest decline in its rate of new COVID-19 cases.

Currently tied with New Hampshire, Michigan has seen a 66% drop in new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days. Maryland is at 67% and Florida is at 82%.

RELATED: When will Michigan reach 70% vaccine coverage?

Not every state is so lucky, and five states are actually seeing increases in their caseloads.

Those declines are being reported in the tri-county area including Macomb County which has seen its rate of new cases fall by 63 cases a day over the last two weeks. That's significant because its one of Michigan's most populated counties with one of the highest infection rates throughout the pandemic.

Detroit's infection rate par with state

Detroit, which has struggled to keep up with vaccinating its citizens is keeping up with the state's falling infection rate. 

The number of new cases reported in the last month sits at 1,835. 

But over the last few days, the city hasn't reported more than 20 cases daily. 

A low infection rate will be key to protecting residents. Currently, only 35% of Detroit has gotten fully vaccinated.