A new article from The Detroit News columnist Charlie LeDuff asks the question, “COVID deaths climb; does anyone care?”
LeDuff rightly notes that the pandemic is not over, and that Michigan’s COVID-19 death rate has actually increased by 8% in the past year, with 15,821 COVID deaths from June 8, 2021, to June 7, 2022.
Meanwhile, according to LeDuff, COVID deaths in the United State have decreased by more than 16%, and about 13% in the Midwest.
LeDuff notes that despite the surge in deaths, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declined to impose any restrictions or lockdowns. For the most part, everything is wide open in Michigan, though some businesses may still choose to require mask-wearing or proof of vaccination.
“Is there an acceptable death rate in Michigan, now that Gretchen E. Whitmer — and not Donald J. Trump — is up for re-election?” LeDuff wonders, while also emphasizing that he is not calling for a return to lockdowns.
He adds, “If there is some other explanation, state health officials haven’t offered it. But they did send me a link to a vomit of useless data and charts.”
While an explanation for why Michigan might be an anomaly in COVID-19 deaths cannot be found in this “vomit of useless data and charts,” the document is clear about who is dying from COVID-19: The vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in the state are unvaccinated people.
One chart shows that 82.8% of deaths from Jan. 1, 2021 to Jan. 3, 2022, were people not fully vaccinated, or 10,916. That’s compared to 17.2% of deaths, or 2,262, in fully vaccinated people.
Another chart shows that in October, unvaccinated people were 4.3 times higher of risk for testing positive for COVID-19 and 13.2 times higher of risk for dying of COVID-19.
Here’s another infographic that makes clear the gulf between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
When Michigan opened back up from the shutdowns, the virus found hosts in the unvaccinated to replicate itself. While it’s unfortunate that the current COVID-19 vaccines don’t offer 100% protection, the data clearly shows they are effective in lowering the chance of infection and death. If Whitmer hasn’t spoken out about this rise in COVID-19 deaths, it could be because her message is the same now as it was last year: get vaccinated, and wear a mask in public.