Michigan now has quadruple Ohio’s coronavirus cases: What’s causing the difference?
This has been something I've been puzzling over. I posited that the international border or the airport might have something to do with it, but I couldn't figure out why things in Michigan were so much worse than other nearby states that have international airports. Of course dense population centers are a risk, but metropolitan Detroit really isn't that dense. And poverty? Well, Detroit is poor, but, once again, we don't have a corner on that. The article examines a number of different possibilities and compares Ohio and Michigan. There mostly doesn't seem to be that much difference. Ohio was aggressive in taking measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, but Michigan was almost as aggressive. Often we were only one day behind Ohio.
However, two things jumped out at me. First, Michigan held its primary on March 10th. That was also the day the state had its first confirmed Covid-19 cases. When Ohio canceled its primary on March 17th, I remember thinking Michigan was lucky to get its primary in. Knowing what we know now about people being contagious before they are symptomatic and even though they may remain asymptomatic, it now looks like Michigan's primary may have increased the spread of the virus. Governor DeWine made a good call, in my opinion, to cancel in person voting on the 17th.
Then this: The Detroit metropolitan area is home to a major international airport, one of 11 where federal officials directed planes from China, after the coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan.
What? I didn't remember that. So I looked it up.
Release Date: February 2, 2020
11 U.S. airports will receive flights carrying passengers from China
"Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued instructions supplementing a decision issued on January 31, 2020, and directed all flights from China and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days to be routed through one of eight U.S. airports, effective Sunday, February 2nd, 2020, for flights departing after 5:00 PM Eastern. Three additional airports will be added to the list of airports authorized to receive such flights beginning at various times on Monday, February 3, 2020. At these eleven airports, the United States Government has established enhanced screening procedures and the capacity to quarantine passengers, if needed."
And later..." 'While the overall risk to the American public remains low, funneling all flights with passengers who have recently been in China is the most important and prudent step we can take at this time to decrease the strain on public health officials screening incoming travelers. These steps will also expedite the processing of U.S. citizens returning from China, and ensure resources are focused on the health and safety of the American people,' said DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf."
What were the 11 airports?
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
And on March 13 all Americans returning from restricted countries (including China, Iran, Italy and Spain) were routed through thirteen airports. Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts, and Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida were added to the list.
That's airports in 12 different states. Compare those states with the top 12 most affected states, in order of confirmed cases of Covid-19: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Washington, Texas, Georgia.
Louisiana and Pennsylvania are the only ones that didn't have large numbers of presumably contagious people funneled through their airports. Louisiana had Mardi Gras, however, and the most affected area of Pennsylvania is close to New York City and New Jersey.
Virginia (20) and Hawaii (45) aren't top on the list of most confirmed cases of Covid-19. I wonder why.