The Daily’s latest coronavirus coverage
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a hectic news cycle. For the latest University of Michigan and Ann Arbor news on coronavirus, check out the links to The Daily’s articles below.
And here is a link to two interactive COVID-19 data graphics. One tracks the current case and death count in Michigan by county. The other tracks the case and death count over time. Hover over the graphs for more information.
Here’s what you need to know:
After months of being shut down, bars and restaurants in Michigan had been allowed to reopen for indoor service with limited capacity on June 8. Now, establishments that earn more than 70 percent of their gross receipts from alcohol sales must again shut down their indoor service.
Over the past several weekends, students have taken to social media to express concern about a significant increase in the number of people in Ann Arbor as students start to move back and go out to restaurants and bars.
While many University of Michigan students use the summer months to gain experience from internships and jobs, others engage in various research projects across campus to gain critical skills for career development. But in a matter of weeks, those plans to participate in cutting-edge research at the No. 1 public research university in the U.S. were halted as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all non-essential in-person research activity.
On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted Michigan’s stay-at-home order, allowing bars and restaurants to reopen on June 8 for dining at 50 percent capacity. The next day, Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution closing some main streets in the city like East Liberty Street, South State Street and South University Avenue from 2 p.m. on Fridays to 8 p.m on Sundays to enable restaurants to expand outside dining.
Though COVID-19 rates are decreasing in Michigan, many business owners are still taking safety and health precautions when interacting with customers such as wearing gloves and masks, consistently sanitizing surfaces and limiting customer capacity.
On May 16, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced in an email to the University community that laboratory research will begin to resume, citing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020-90 Executive Order which allows research activities with some limitations.
“As the largest public research university in the nation, this is a significant development for our state and our university as we continue to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic,” Schlissel wrote. “We’re beginning to see how certain activities can resume in a public health-informed manner, while also understanding that work will be very different in the months ahead.”
On May 7, directors of the 2020 Ann Arbor Art Fair announced the event would be canceled due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 61st annual fair was to be held July 16-19. According to a press release, the directors began planning for the 2021 fair and are determined to keep the momentum for the event rolling into next year.
The fair typically hosts more than 1,000 artists and 500,000 attendees from across the country.
On Friday, a caravan of approximately 100 cars drove across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to disrupt traffic and protest the exploitation of undocumented immigrants in essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Movimiento Cosecha, a nonviolent national movement advocating for the respect and protection of undocumented immigrants’ rights, organized the protest as part of a nationwide movement.
Movimiento Cosecha published a national press release arguing for the federal government to take greater action to protect undocumented essential workers and immigrants who have put their lives in danger to work in essential businesses.
Kyle VanKoevering, assistant professor of otolaryngology, and his research team used 3D printing technology to develop a device that can support multiple patients on a single ventilator. The vent-splitter works by adjusting and monitoring pressures according to the needs of each patient on the same ventilator.
In a press release Wednesday night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of the Futures for Frontliners program to provide essential workers a tuition-free pathway to a college degree or technical certificate to support those working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the Republican-controlled legislature denied an extension of the emergency and disaster declaration set to expire April 30 at midnight, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three new executive orders to continue Michigan’s state of emergency and disaster.
The new orders will be in effect through May 28.
At a press conference Friday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an executive order extending Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order through May 15. The new order requires residents to wear homemade face coverings — such as scarves, handkerchiefs or clothes — in enclosed public spaces, including grocery stores and pharmacies. Whitmer said while face covering is crucial to protecting the public and critical employees, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for not wearing one.
More than 100 members of the Senate Assembly met informally over Zoom on April 20 for the final meeting of the academic year. Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, joined the call to update the Assembly members on the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This discussion followed a statement released about the University’s financial status and changes they are implementing to address the financial gap and other challenges arising from COVID-19.
Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, released a statement on April 20 regarding the University’s financial situation. According to Schlissel, the University is expected to lose between $400 million and $1 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a press conference the afternoon of April 20, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing racial disparities in COVID-19 related deaths. 40 percent of reported coronavirus deaths in the state are Black residents, though Black people make up only 14 percent of the state’s total population.
Washtenaw County has more than 700 cases of COVID-19 as of this week. While residents who identify as African American or Black make up 12.4 percent of the county population, 48 percent of hospitalized cases are residents who identify as African American or Black.
“Was supposed to” seems to have become one of the most commonly used phrases of this semester.
The Prison Creative Arts Project was supposed to put on an exhibition of prisoner art from mid-March to early April. Shift, a creator space for University of Michigan students, was supposed to have a project showcase. The Michigan Journal of International Affairs was supposed to print and distribute their journal.
Yet in spite of a global pandemic and unprecedented changes to daily life, all three of these student organizations, along with other groups across campus, found ways to modify their plans to finish out the semester.
Thousands of disgruntled Michiganders descended on downtown Lansing the afternoon of April 15 to provide a new soundtrack to dissent amid a global pandemic: the blaring horn. Lines of cars and trucks miles long stopped traffic on the streets surrounding the Michigan State Capitol as part of “Operation Gridlock,” a protest organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 stay-at-home executive orders.
Approximately 20 health care workers gathered in front of the University of Michigan Hospital on April 15 as part of a national rally to demand support for hospital staff. They were joined by about 50 other supporters driving by with posters and signs.
Research leadership from across the University of Michigan held a virtual town hall April 14 with updates about the research operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Held via Zoom, the panel included moderator Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research, and four other speakers. More than 100 questions were submitted to the panelists.
As part of its effort to curb the impact of COVID-19, the federal government shipped more than 700,000 surgical masks to the state of Michigan last week from its stockpile. Michigan Medicine received 22,000 of those masks, but they are defunct, the Detroit Free Press reported on April 14.
Click this link to see which Ann Arbor businesses are seeking support through GoFundMe, and which restaurants are offering takeout and/or delivery.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., announced Friday that colleges and universities with campuses in Michigan’s 12th district will receive more than $66 million in emergency grants to cover “significant” financial losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Half of the funding to institutions must be distributed to students in the form of emergency cash grants to help students pay for food, housing and other basic necessities.
At least three Meijer store locations across the state of Michigan have had team members test positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the organization yesterday. Among these are store locations in Grandville, Cedar Springs, and Ann Arbor, Mich.
28 Michigan Medicine employees have been tested for COVID-19 and 110 of those tests have come back positive as of April 6, according to a press release from Michigan Medicine.
The coronavirus pandemic hit when rising rent prices and an increase in development across the city were already putting a strain on local businesses. In 2018, 18 businesses closed, with most closures affecting businesses that had been open for more than 25 years. Rent prices also soared in the past year, leaving business owners struggling to pay their employees at rates that would allow them to reside within city limits.
But the pandemic and subsequent executive orders have placed local businesses in a unique situation, leaving many to rely on community support in order to meet their rent and pay employees.
On March 23, University President Mark Schlissel notified the University of Michigan community that spring and summer terms classes would be conducted remotely. Despite the move to continue online instruction, tuition for the spring/summer terms will remain the same, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told The Daily.
Michigan Medicine nurses at high risk of contracting the virus have had different experiences navigating the risk of caring for patients versus returning to work, with some struggling to obtain COVID-19 testing.
As the spread of the novel coronavirus forces businesses across the state to shut down and residents to shelter in place, many people have been laid off, leaving them struggling to pay rent and other bills.
Following Michigan’s “state of disaster” declaration, on April 2 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-35 ordering all K-12 school buildings to close for the remainder of the school year. District facilities are open to use by public school employees and contractors if safe social distancing is practiced.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., hosted her weekly telephone town hall on April 1 to talk about the coronavirus outbreak and answer questions from constituents. She spoke alongside health care professional Kimberly Wisdom, senior vice president of Community Health & Equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System, and Jeff Donofrio, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
Michigan Medicine presented projections on how social distancing will impact the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at its peak and noted plans to convert an indoor track facility into a field hospital during a virtual press conference on the afternoon of March 31.
With businesses temporarily closing and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order, many students’ on-campus jobs have been left in limbo.
Each month, The Michigan Daily sits down with the University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel to discuss important questions about University policy, commitments and challenges. This month, the interview was conducted virtually. Topics discussed in this month’s interview included COVID-19, sexual misconduct allegations against faculty and GEO bargaining.
University of Michigan students with meal plans will be reimbursed for meal credits lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an email sent to The Daily by University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the University announced dining halls would be moved to take-out only.
Following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order requiring all “non-essential” businesses to cease operations and residents to stay home, Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, notified the community in an email on March 23 that spring and summer term classes will take place remotely through online platforms.
All undergraduate courses at the University of Michigan will transition to an alternative grade policy, according to an email sent to students from Acting Provost Susan Collins on March 20. In place of a letter grade, students will now receive a “Pass” or “No Record Covid” on their permanent transcripts.
Campus organizations supporting political campaigns — whether in support of national, state or local politicians — have put in effort in trying to get their candidates elected by connecting to voters face-to-face. But now traditional methods of campaign mobilization have been either upended or called off due to the recent outbreaks of COVID-19, a pandemic sweeping the U.S. and the rest of the world.
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