Tuesday News Hit: Inkster couple overcomes COVID-19, Detroit's testing difference, and a defiant barber

In late May, both David and Charlunda Thompson got sick. Charlunda, who has underlying health conditions, was admitted to Beaumont Dearborn where she was soon put on a ventilator. David eventually found himself at Beaumont Wayne. The Inkster couple struggled through COVID-19 from separate hospitals but stayed in touch throughout their battle. David would sometimes call his wife, even though she couldn't talk back.

"Even though I couldn't feel David's touch if I was able to hear his voice - even though my sister wasn't there to give me a hug or a kiss I could hear her voice - and that kind of gave me strength I truly believe," said Charlunda.

It would take more than two weeks before Charlunda could breathe on her own. It would be the first step on a long list of improvements she'll need to make as she overcomes the virus. Eventually, the couple would be reunited on May 6. David and Charlunda are among the 22,600 COVID-19 cases considered recovered in Michigan, a little less than half of the total coronavirus cases confirmed by state health officials. 

The world that the Thompsons left when they were hospitalized looks a lot different from the one they returned to after being dismissed from the hospital. Michigan's COVID-19 presence was still largely unknown and unreported as daily case counts increased exponentially. Despite being first reported March 10, it's likely the virus arrived in the state weeks earlier, as anti-body testing in Ohio indicated coronavirus was in the state the month before being spotted. Struggling to acquire enough tests, Michigan is now among the country's more frequent testers, says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The rising number of COVID-19 tests correlates with a sharp decline in the percentage of positive cases. These diverging trends stem from offering more testing not just limited to those with high-risk factors already showing symptoms, but also those with mild symptoms. 

Detroit's tale of two testing stages paints an even more dramatic picture:

Experts always believed the infection rate of the coronavirus was closer to numbers reflected in May. Those same experts always believe it'll require testing frequency mirroring what Detroit has done in the last 11 days as necessary to safely reopen the state. Whitmer told reporters Monday the state was conducting around 14,000 tests a day. She hoped to have that number up to 30,000 by the end of the month. 

Parallel to the public health battle first responders are waging is a political one that Whitmer and her GOP counterparts are staring down. As the governor doubles down on her stay-home order, several forms of protest have spawned from demonstrators upset with the state's restrictions. The unlikely star of that show is a barber operating out of his Owosso shop. 

Karl Manke has become somewhat of a celebrity to the protesters after he reopened his shop May 4, defying state orders that closed him down. Since then, he's had a consistent crowd of patrons and supporters outside his business. 

"I had to get back to work. I feel that it's my right to work," Manke said. "You know our bills were beginning to pile up, our light bill. They offered me $160 a week, finally last week I got one unemployment thing for $160 - that doesn't even cover my light bill."

Manke's reopening has landed two misdemeanor citations. It's also won him a court case after a Shiwasse County Judge ruled Manke could remain open for now, after the state health department sought a restraining order to have him cease operations.

Daily Forecast

A sunny and warm Tuesday is on the way. And get excited for when temperatures in the 70s arrive later this week.

Blue Angels to pay tribute to Michigan healthcare workers Tuesday. Here's where they'll be flying

Operation America Strong was announced in April and is finally being seen through in May, with a planned tribute to Michigan health care workers happening around 11:30 on Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels will perform flyovers over Southeast Michigan, beginning in Ann Arbor before passing over Ypsilanti, Wayne, Dearborn, Detroit, Warren, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and then back through Detroit. Their flight path is pictured below.