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    ‘Real devastation and tragedy’ from COVID-19 as state marks 20,000 deaths


    They were fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, children, aunts, uncles and friends.

    Some were colleagues or neighbors. Others were well-known by the public.

    Whether young or old or rich or poor, they share something in common — they were Michiganders lost to COVID-19.

    The coronavirus has claimed the lives of 20,011 Michiganders, with the state surpassing the grim 20,000 milestone of confirmed deaths in data released Friday.

    More than 28% of the deaths — 5,686 — were residents of long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing, homes for the aged and adult foster care that were devastated by the virus at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

    “I know that people are tired of the pandemic. I know people are tired of COVID. I know we are all tired of COVID. But it’s a real stark reminder that this has affected people in real ways, and that we cannot pretend like this is over, because it’s not,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of  Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.

    Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel speaks during a press conference before the opening of a drive-thru vaccination clinic at the former Sears Auto Center site at the Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

    “We’ve seen real devastation and tragedy as a result of COVID-19, and it remains as important now as it  (was) a year ago to mitigate the transmission of this virus. Because it is deadly.”

    Nationally, more than 617,000 people have died of  COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker.

    Michigan has recorded 919,133 confirmed cases of the virus. Cases have been inching up recently,   and in the last two days, there have been 3,127 new cases, state data show.

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