Tuesday News Hit: Residents travel rates back to normal, more re-openings, and a 8-year-old hurt by gunfire

Michigan set a two-month low for new COVID-19-related deaths on Sunday when it confirmed just five more fatalities. On Memorial Day, another 12 were added to the list. While there is merit to the notion that daily case and death totals always look lower when reported over a weekend, Sunday and Monday's results stood out as the lowest two-day total since March 23. The trend of newly confirmed cases also appears on a continuous downward slope as well, with the state reported only 202 new cases on Monday.

The governor has responded to the falling spread of new coronavirus cases by lifting restrictions on businesses and travel, including retail businesses and auto showrooms today (more on that in a bit). But residents have also responded, by traveling around the state - a lot. As noted on the Michigan Information & Research Service's podcast on Monday, citizens in the state are traveling at the same rate they were on March 9, just before day zero when coronavirus was first confirmed.

Between those two peaks was a valley of falling average mobility, measured by Unacast's Social Distancing scoreboard. At one point, Michigan was one of the top performers in the country per the website's social distancing metric. However, the state as a whole and the majority of its counties are now receiving failing grades for the amount of interstate travel. It's a sign that even while approval for the governor's handling of the virus remains high, her orders to socially isolate and remain at home aren't carrying the same weight.

How will this return to "normal" travel impact COVID-19's spread? We'll know in about two weeks, which is the amount of time it takes for COVID-19 to start expressing symptoms. Gretchen Whitmer's problem isn't a unique problem for her, however, as photos and videos from around the country showed residents congregating at speedways, beaches, and pools over the weekend. The visuals sparked concern from experts fearing a "second surge" of cases, just as the U.S. neared a dark statistic - 100,000 deaths related to the virus.

It's worth noting that even with the state's failing grade, people making "non-essential visits" and the change in density of populations still remains well below what it was in March. Non-essential visits are still half of what they were on March 10; encounter density is also well below the average. This means that while residents are starting to move about the state again, it's not necessarily to places that might increase the risk of exposure.

The latest industries scheduled to re-engage the economy opened their doors on Tuesday, with auto showrooms and some retail outlets serving customers by appointment only.

"We fully understand the responsibility we have to the health and safety of our employees and our customers. We will go above and beyond all recommended safety protocols," said J. Douglas North, president of North Brothers Ford. "We also understand how we operate and behave will impact all residents of Michigan, as well as influence businesses seeking to reopen in the future."

North was speaking at a governor press conference last week when Whitmer made one of several announcements relaxing rules on small gatherings and non-essential medical, veterinarian, and dentistry procedures

It's unclear what will come next, but residents should wager a continual rollout of lifted rules each week COVID-19 shows improvement in Michigan. As for now, the state remains under a newly-extended stay-home order until June 12. 

In Detroit, an 8-year-old was among those hurt in a double shooting over Memorial Day after a man in a gold sedan pulled up next to a GMC Arcadia and fired multiple shots into the vehicle. Police say a 28-year-old man was hurt and is listed in temporary serious condition. 

The child, only listed as a relative was in stable condition. 

Police believe prior to the shooting, a 31-year-old man who was also in the victim's car allegedly got into a fight with the suspected shooter in a parking lot.

Daily Forecast

Temperatures in the last full week of May will rise into the near-90's, carrying isolated storm Tuesday afternoon.

Six feet may not be far enough to stop coronavirus transmission in windy weather, study suggests

Public health officials have advised wearing a mask in public and remaining at least six feet from anyone else to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading. These measures are credited with flattening the curve in places like New York City.

However, that distance may not be far enough, depending on the weather conditions.

In a paper published on Tuesday in Physics of Fluids, Talib Dbouk and Dimitris Drikakis discovered that with even a slight breeze of 2.4 miles per hour, saliva can travel up to 18 feet in only 5 seconds.