COVID-19: What You Need to Know

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S. and cases in Michigan increase, it is important to remain calm and informed on the status and threats. Over the past week, Gov. Whitmer has declared a state of emergency, confirmed cases in Michigan have increased to 12, and state and local officials are recommending social distancing – limiting events and gatherings and closing schools. Read the latest updates for Michigan.

Preparedness, awareness, and education are key during these uncertain times to avoid panic. COVID-19 is not slowing anytime soon, but there are ways to contain the virus.

These are the top 10 things to know, sourced from The Conversation:

1. We know what it is

The first cases of AIDS were described in June 1981 and it took more than two years to identify the virus (HIV) causing the disease. With COVID-19, the first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China on December 31, 2019, and by January 7 the virus had already been identified. The genome was available on day 10.

We already know that it is a new coronavirus from group 2B, of the same family as SARS, which we have called SARSCoV2. The disease is called COVID-19. It is thought to be related to coronavirus from bats. Genetic analyses have confirmed it has a recent natural origin (between the end of November and the beginning of December) and that, although viruses live by mutating, its mutation rate may not be very high.

2. We know how to detect the virus

Since January 13, a test to detect the virus has been available.

*Note, health professionals and officials in Michigan have access to conduct 1,300 tests. They are actively working with the CDC to obtain additional testing.

3. The situation is improving in China

The strong control and isolation measures imposed by China are paying off. For several weeks now, the number of cases diagnosed every day is decreasing. A very detailed epidemiological follow-up is being carried out in other countries; outbreaks are very specific to areas, which can allow them to be controlled more easily.

4. 80% of cases are mild

The disease causes no symptoms or is mild in 81% of cases. Of course, at 14% it can cause severe pneumonia and in 5% it can become critical or even fatal. It is still unclear what the death rate may be. But it could be lower than some estimates so far.

5. People recover

Much of the reported data relates to the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but most infected people are cured. There are 13 times more cured cases than deaths, and that proportion is increasing.

Recoveries per day. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

6. Symptoms appear mild in children

Only 3% of cases occur in people under 20, and mortality under 40 is only 0.2%. Symptoms are so mild in children it can go unnoticed.

7. The virus can be wiped clean

The virus can be effectively inactivated from surfaces with a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), in just one minute. Frequent handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid contagion.

8. Science is on it, globally

It is the age of international science cooperation. After just over a month, 164 articles could be accessed in PubMed on COVID19 or SARSCov2, as well as many others available in repositories of articles not yet reviewed. They are preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis, clinical aspects, etc.

These articles were written by some 700 authors, distributed throughout the planet. It is cooperative science, shared and open. In 2003, with the SARS epidemic, it took more than a year to reach less than half that number of articles. In addition, most scientific journals have left their publications as open access to the subject of coronaviruses.

9. There are already vaccine prototypes

Our ability to design new vaccines is spectacular. There are already more than eight projects underway seeking a vaccine against the new coronavirus. There are groups that work on vaccination projects against similar viruses.

The vaccine group of the University of Queensland, in Australia, has announced it is already working on a prototype using the technique called “molecular clamp”, a novel technology. This is just one example that could allow vaccine production in record time. Prototypes may soon be tested on humans.

10. Antiviral trials are underway

Vaccines are preventive. Right now, the treatment of people who are already sick is important. There are already more than 80 clinical trials analyzing coronavirus treatments. These are antivirals that have been used for other infections, which are already approved and that we know are safe.

One of those that has already been tested in humans is remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral still under study, which has been tested against Ebola and SARS/MERS.

Another candidate is chloroquine, an antimalarial that has also been seen to have potent antiviral activity. It is known that chloroquine blocks viral infection by increasing the pH of the endosome, which is needed for the fusion of the virus with the cell, thus inhibiting its entry. It has been demonstrated that this compound blocks the new coronavirus in vitro and it is already being used in patients with coronavirus pneumonia.

Other proposed trials are based on the use of oseltamivir (which is used against the influenza virus), interferon-1b (protein with antiviral function), antisera from people who recovered or monoclonal antibodies to neutralize the virus. New therapies have been proposed with inhibitory substances, such as baricitinibine, selected by artificial intelligence.

The 1918 flu pandemic caused more than 25 million deaths in less than 25 weeks. Could something similar happen now? Probably not; we have never been better prepared to fight a pandemic.

Content for this blog post is from The Conversation, by Catesby Holmes, global affairs editor.

Detroit Regional Chamber Releases Findings from Second Statewide Policy Poll

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll.

DETROIT, MICH. (Jan. 27, 2020) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll that highlights the issues that matter most to Michigan voters in advance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second State of the State Address and the Detroit Policy Conferencon Wednesday, Jan. 29.  

Michigan is going to be the key state in the election this year and it is important tknow what is on the minds of Michigan voters,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “We are not interested in the national horserace. Today it is important to understand the issues Michiganders care most about – roads, health care, jobs, and the economy – this Michigan voter poll reflects that.” 

The Chamber is a leading voice for the business community on many statewide issues outlined in the poll. The poll was conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. of 600 Michiganders that are likely to vote in the November general election and the findings reflect a consensus among Michigan respondents on statewide and federal issues. 

Statewide Issue Highlights:

When asked if Michigan was on the right track, 46.2% of statewide voters believe the state is on the right track and 33.2% believe it is on the wrong track (20.7% no response).

When asked in an open-ended question, “What is the most important issue facing Michigan right now?” The top four responses were:

Roads and bridges (29.5%)
Jobs and the economy (18.0%)
Education/education funding (7.2%)
Water/sewer infrastructure (6.3%)






Michigan voters are still widely focused on fixing the roads. Roads and bridges ranked as the top issue in Michigan among every demographic group.

By a wide margin, 29.5% of Michigan voters ranked roads and bridges as the most important issue facing the state.

When asked if Michigan roads have gotten better, worse, or stayed the same, statewide voters said:

They have gotten worse (46.3%)
They are about the same (40.2%)
They have gotten better (11.7%)
No response (1.8%)





However, when asked if Michigan government have enough money to fix the roads or if the state needs to raise more money, a margin of 53.3%-33.7% of voters believe the state has enough money (13% no response).

“Michigan’s elected leaders continue to lose the PR battle on additional road funding. By a margin of 53%-33%, Michigan voters continue to believe that the state already has enough money to fix the roads as compared to needing additional revenues. As far back as 2012, we talked about how voters did not understand why Michigan needed more road money. And eight years later, voters still don’t understand why Michigan needs more money for roads,” said Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

The chart below compares how each party affiliation viewed this question. While Democratic voters appear split on the question, all other party affiliations strongly believe the state already has the money to fix the roads.

Party Affiliation Enough Money Need to Raise More Money
Strong Democratic (43.4%) (46.2%)
Lean Democratic (38.5%) (44.2%)
Independent (56.1%) (30.4%)
Lean GOP (56.9%) (30.6%)
Strong GOP (64.4%) (20.7%)

Voters were asked who they would trust to spend the money if more money was raised for roads:

Their local city or township government (29.7%)
Their county government (29.7%)
Michigan state government (22.5%)
None (12.2%)
No response (6.0%)





Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Strong Republican voters were most likely to support their county (37.8%) to spend the money.
  • Strong Democratic voters were most likely to support state government (35.8%) to spend the money.
  • Independent voters were most likely to support their local government (33.8%) to spend the money.

Voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to support an increase in road revenues if they knew their local government would be responsible for handling the money and making the road fixes.

More likely to support (47.4%)
Less likely to support (15.3%)
It would make no difference to them (32.2%)
No response (5.2%)





Debt-Free Community College for Adults

By a margin of 74%-22.1%, Michigan voters strongly support providing debt-free community college tuition to any Michigan adult who is re-entering the workforce or needs to get retrained because their job has been eliminated.

Additionally, 56% of Michigan voters strongly support free community college tuition.

The chart below looks at support by party affiliation. Only Strong Republican voters are split on the proposal.

Party Affiliation Support Oppose
Strong Democratic (90.8%) (6.4%)
Lean Democratic (90.4%) (9.6%)
Independent (78.4%) (18.3%)
Lean GOP (65.3%) (30.5%)
Strong GOP (45.9%) (48.2%)






Extending Elliott Larsen

By a margin of 77.3%-16%, Michigan voters continue to strongly support legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment or housing of LGBT Michiganders. 66.3% strongly support the legislation while only 9.5% strongly oppose the legislation (6.7% no response).

Requiring Hands-Free Driving Devices

By a margin of 88.3%-9%, Michigan voters strongly support legislation that would prohibit drivers from holding their cell phones while they are driving and require them to only use a hands-free device. 77.5% of voters strongly support the hands-free legislation (2.7% neither support or oppose, or no response).

This is the second poll the Detroit Regional Chamber has commissioned by Glengariff Group Inc. ahead of the November 2020 general election. The first was conducted in July 2019 in advance of the CNN Democratic Debate in Detroit and it also focused on issues that were top of mind for voters to ensure the candidates were focusing on the issues Michigan cares about.

National Issue Highlights:

Washington dominates as the most important issue facing the nation for Michigan voters. When asked in an open-ended question, what is the most important issue facing the nation, Michigan voters said:

President Trump and his impeachment were the most important issue (15.2%)
Jobs and the economy (12.5%)
Access to health care (10.0%)
The political divide in the nation (9.0%)
The possibility of war (8.8%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • 31.8% of Strong Democratic voters said President Trump was the most important issue facing the nation, while 20% of Strong Republican voters said the political divide in the nation was the most important issue.
  • By a margin of 62.2%-26.7%, Michigan voters believe the national economy is on the right track (11.2% no response).
  • When asked if the economy is better today than it was four years ago, 51.2% said it was better, 28.8% said it was the same, and 16.2% said it was worse (3.8% no response).

There were major differences based on whether or not the household had a 401K.

  • For households with a 401K, 57.8% said the economy was better, 28.3% said it was the same, and 10.5% said it was worse.
  • But for households without a 401K, only 36.8% said it was better, 30.5% said it was the same, and 27.4% said it was worse.

Michigan voters were asked if their household finances were better today than they were four years ago, 42% said their finances were the same, 38.3% said they were better, and 17.3% said they were worse (2.3% no response).

There were major differences based on whether the household had a 401K.

  • 46.5% of households with a 401K said their finances were better, while only 24.2% of households without a 401K said their finances were better.

Health Care

Michigan voters with private and employer health insurance are overwhelmingly satisfied with their insurance.

When voters were asked if they had health insurance and if so what kind of insurance they had:

No coverage (4%)
Yes, employer provided coverage (56.3%)
Yes, paid for private coverage (8%)
Yes, Medicare (20.2%)
Yes, Medicaid (9%)
No response (2.5%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • While 61.2% of white voters said they had employee coverage, only 33.3% of African American voters said they had employee coverage.
  • Voters with employee and private coverage were asked if they were satisfied or unsatisfied with their health insurance.
  • 75.1% of voters with employee or private coverage are satisfied with their coverage, while 43.0% are very satisfied, and 32.1% are somewhat satisfied. 22.0% are not satisfied with their coverage.
  • Michiganders choose moderate options on health care and agree across the board on pre-existing conditions.

When Voters were read four different options about our nation’s health care system and asked which they supported the most:

We should expand the existing Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to give anyone the option to purchase their health coverage through Medicare. This is known as Medicare for All who want it. (35.8%)
We should make some changes to the Affordable Care Act, but we shouldn’t go beyond that. (20.2%)
We should create one Medicare for All system in which everyone has the same health insurance plan and private insurance would not be required. (20%)
We should leave the system alone. It is working fine and there is really nothing wrong with it. (8.5%)
No response (9.0%)








“It is a great misconception that voters are unhappy with their current health insurance coverage. 75% of voters with employer provided or private health insurance coverage are satisfied with their coverage. That is why 67% of Michigan voters choose a national health option that is not Medicare for All. Voters want a more moderated direction in the national health care debate,” said Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Among Strong Democratic voters, 51.4% chose Medicare for All that want it, while 23.1% chose Medicare for All.
  • The lowest support percentage for Medicare for All came among Strong Republican voters (8.1%), union households (13.1%), and African American voters (14.1%).
  • The strongest support for ‘Medicare for All that want it’ came from African American voters (59%) and Strong Democratic voters (51.4%).
  • 21.5% of Strong Republican voters said we should leave the health care system alone. 27.4% chose minor reforms to the Affordable Care Act.

Ranking Local, State and Federal Leaders for Civility

Since 2017, the Chamber has led a call to restore civility in public discourse. Given civility is a signature priority for the Chamber, Michigan voters were asked their opinion on the nation’s current state.

When Michigan voters were asked to rank local, state, and federal leaders on their civility. Using a one to 10 scale – with one being lowest and 10 being highest – voters were asked to score each entity on civility.

Your local city and township government (6.7)
Your local mayor or township supervisor (6.7)
Governor of Michigan (5.5)
Michigan State House and State Senate (5.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (4.2)
President of the United States (4.2)
Social media like Facebook and Twitter (3.6)








Looking closely at the demographics:

Republicans voted:
President the most civil of the entities (7.6)
Social media the lowest (3.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (3.7)
Governor of Michigan (3.8)





Independents voted:         
Their local mayor or supervisor highest (6.5)
Social media the lowest (3.6)
The President (4.0)




Democrats voted:         
Governor of Michigan highest (7.1)
President of the United States lowest (1.7)






The poll is a live operator telephone survey of 600 likely November 2020 general election Michigan voters conducted from January 14-18, 2020. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 62% of respondents were contacted by landline telephone. 38% of respondents were contacted by cell phone.

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll.

Detroit Regional Chamber Statement on Governor Whitmer’s Budget Proposal

“Governor Whitmer’s plan to address Michigan’s crumbling roads is certainly bold and generates the needed revenue to sufficiently address the challenge. The Chamber supports increased infrastructure investment and is reviewing the elements of her proposal. We look forward to seeking the input of our members as well as legislators before we take a formal position.  The Chamber believes that treating retirement income in the same manner as earned income is a critical fairness issue that was resolved in 2011, and does not support revisiting that matter.”

Sandy K. Baruah, President and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber