Stamm: One footnote in Michigan's latest dire data is starkly vivid

April 01, 2020, 7:56 PM by  Alan Stamm

State numbers posted every 24 hours track a relentless rise in lung virus patients and fatalities.

I'm not numbed yet, and hope never to be, by the business of adapting the data for our daily virus updates each mid-afternoon. It's impossible to type the grim figures -- nearly 80 more deaths in the past day and over 1,700 new cases -- without thinking of the statewide distress each represents.

Behind the toll approaching 9,400 Michigan cases are men and women of all ages, sons and daughters, moms and dads, husbands and wives who won't see summer. Thousands of families, workplaces, neighborhoods and social circles are shaken each day by brutal news.

Some victims get public tributes if relatives, friends and news media post about the loss. Most pass with more limited recognition at a time when even funerals are tiny ceremonies.

All we know from stark state data is that 64 percent of the deceased are men and 36 percent are women. Their median age was 72.

Among these unnamed victims is an elderly man or woman whose death Tuesday is particularly notable.

(Table: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

It stands out in the highlighted fact at right, from the last table at the bottom of a second screen with Michigan Coronavirus Data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of yesterday's 78 fatalities was 107 years old.

Think about that. A hardy Michiganian born in 1912 or 1913 survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic as a young child and now succumbs to a modern plague in our state and country.

Haunting. Chilling. Novelistic.

And unless that centenarian's life story breaks through the Class VI rapids on news streams, it's just one more pandemic death among 337 so far in this state.  

That's where we are on the first day of April 2020, expected to be a gruesome month. Stay safe, stay aware, stay home.

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