In the News
As the weather gets colder, the pandemic keeps getting hotter. The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) recorded 180 new cases and sixteen hospitalizations on Tuesday, following a record 1,823 cases from Nov. 5 to Nov. 18. More than seven percent of those tested are positive for the virus, triple the level of a month ago. Eight county residents have died in the past three weeks, the highest toll since April.
The U-M was caught off-guard by partying students, but nearly made it to its Thanksgiving-break goal for in-person classes. The Observer’s December issue has our feature—and fact-checks claims that students “brought the virus here.”
The Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor taught in-person classes all semester. Compared to the AAPS, the small private school is in a "uniquely fortunate position,” explains director Sian Owen-Cruise, our Ann Arborite profile in the December Observer.
A new drive-thru testing site uses the contactless saliva test for Covid-19 created by the local U-M spinoff LynxDx, which also does testing for the university. A partnership with the WCHD, it’s at the 2|42 Church Community Center at 648 S. Wagner Rd. The site is closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, but otherwise open weekdays to all Michigan residents, with or without insurance. Pre-registration required at lynxdx.health/register.
"November 2020 looks set to be the month that humanity developed the tools to turn the tide against this devastating virus," a British expert said Monday after a third vaccine passed “gold standard” clinical trials. Michigan Medicine physician Arnold Monto heads the committee evaluating the studies for the FDA; its first report is due December 10. CNN.
“We are seeing a two-track recovery from the pandemic,” says U-M economist Gabriel Erlich. “Customer-facing industries lost more jobs and have recovered more slowly than other sectors. We expect that trend to continue.” The state economic forecast from the university’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics predicts that by the end of 2022, jobs in higher-wage industries will exceed pre-pandemic levels, while middle-wage jobs will be down 2.2 percent and those in the lower-wage jobs will be down 8.3 percent. University Record.
Larry Hunter, former Black Panther and Ann Arbor City Councilmember, dies at 69. The Observer’s John Hinchey has this recollection from his years covering City Council: “Larry knew or seemed to know more about what was going on everywhere in town than anyone else. He would sometimes tell me to watch out for things that were going to happen, things for which there was no apparent evidence and which often sounded improbable. At first I was skeptical but he must have done that fifty times over twelve years on City Council, and he never misled me.” In 2018, Hunter recorded an oral history of his life for the Ann Arbor District Library. Click here to read his obituary.
Ann Arbor musician Nadim Azzam’s Whip Jams Video Series showcases Michigan musicians in a format that’s part performance, part interview, and part comedy. Inspired by Carpool Karaoke, Azzam takes an eclectic array of musical guests for drives around Ann Arbor and Detroit while talking about music and belting out songs from the artists’ playbooks. (No, that’s not social distancing: all episodes of Season 1 were filmed before the pandemic.)
Recycle Ann Arbor landed an $800,000 investment from the American Beverage Association to improve plastic recycling at the Ann Arbor Materials Recovery Facility. Facing global scorn for dumping plastic on Third World countries, the industry says it’s committed to improving recycling and reducing its use of new materials. Observer, MLive.