October COVID data paints dismal picture

COVID rates climbed rapidly in October leading health experts to worry about what November has in store.

September was a hard month for Michigan in terms of COVID-19 infections. But it pales in comparison to what October brought.

School outbreaks and Labor Day revelry brought more than 21,000 new cases of COVID-19 throughout the month of September. October quickly eclipsed that total with 53,493 new infections by Halloween.

A report by MLive outlines six trends showing that things got much worse during the past month.

Case Rates

On October 1, the seven day moving average was 854 new cases per day. By October 31, that number had jumped to 2,879 – the highest at any point during the pandemic.

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Positivity Rates

Michigan started out the month of October with a positivity rate of about 3%. That’s about where state officials wanted the rate to be in order to ensure controlled spread of the virus and allow businesses to reopen. But the rate didn’t stay there. On October 30, the state reported a positivity rate of 9.14%.


On October 30, there were 1,728 people being hospitalized for COVID-19 in Michigan. That’s a 149% increase over the number on October 1 when 693 people were being cared for.


The number of people dying every day from COVID-19 has doubled over the month of October. On October 1, 19 people were reported to have died from the virus and the state was averaging about 12 deaths per day. On October 31, the state reported 31 deaths and the rate was nearly 23 people per day.


October presented the state with a worrying trend in COVID-19 cases. While outbreaks in the spring were centered in high-population centers such as Detroit and surrounding areas, the fall has seen cases springing up all over the state. No region has been hit harder than the Upper Peninsula.

The U.P. has had more than 7,000 cases of the coronavirus and 135 deaths. More than half of those came in October.

The Elderly

As with the early days of the pandemic, older and immunocompromised people are still more prone to contracting the coronavirus – and being killed by it. However, the summer showed an increase in cases among the young. That trend has continued, but rates of infection among older people rose during October to the point that they’re rivaling infections among people under age 30.

You can read the full analysis on MLive.

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