CLEVELAND, Ohio — Michigan reported its first two coronavirus cases March 9, the day after Ohio reported its first three.
While both Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine governors closed schools on March 12, the number of confirmed cases in the neighboring states had diverged radically a week later. Michigan reported 787 cases Saturday, with five deaths, while Ohio reported 247 cases and three deaths.
There are lots of variables, obviously. One is the number of tests given. Ohio, which has 11.7 million residents, has not released its number of negative tests, though University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic alone tested more than 2,200 in four days. The independent COVID Tracking Project says Michigan, with 10 million residents, has 2,069 negative tests.
Ohio has been a little lucky, said Case Western Reserve University Professor Mark Cameron. But the state also been able to watch the progression of COVID-19 in states like Washington and New York and decide how to restrict public interaction.
“Ohio has been more proactive than reactive in putting these measures in place, and that’s a very good thing,” said Cameron, from the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences. “Ohio has been and still is a model for other states in its attempt to put the lion back in its cage or the toothpaste back in its tube, while still balancing the essential needs of the economy and the community.”
Said DeWine on Saturday: “How it spreads, how fast it spreads, part of it is what we order, but a lot of it is going to come down to what I do in my life, everything 11.7 million Ohioans do in their own lives, and what they don’t do.”
Dr. Robert A. Salata at University Hospitals Roe Green Center Travel Medicine & Global Health agreed: “I believe the aggressive measures taken by Ohio have helped keep the numbers down.“
See how the states’ timelines compare:
Michigan: 0 cases
Ohio: 3 cases
Ohio declares state of emergency. Ohio State University suspended face-to-face classes
Michigan: 2 cases
Ohio: 3 cases
Michigan declares state of emergency. Michigan holds presidential primary election.
Michigan: 12 cases
Ohio: 4 cases
Michigan colleges begin shutting down.
Ohio colleges announce colleges suspend classes on campus. Cleveland cancels St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Michigan: 16 cases
Ohio: 5 cases
Michigan announces school closures starting March 16.
Ohio closes schools starting March 17. Most mass gatherings of 100 or more people in the state will be banned, including in theaters, sports arenas and more.
Michigan: 25 cases
Ohio: 13 cases
Michigan bans gatherings of 250 people or more.
Michigan: 33 cases
Ohio: 26 cases
Ohio recommends all elective surgeries be postponed, to conserve surgical masks and gloves.
Michigan: 53 cases
Ohio: 37 cases
Ohio orders all restaurants and bars to close at 9 p.m.
Michigan: 54 cases
Ohio: 50 cases
Nationally, President Trump suggests gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people.
Michigan limits groups to 50, shuts dine-in service at bars and restaurants and ordering the closing of coffee shops, gyms and other places.
Ohio postpones the primary election. It limits groups to 50, and closes gyms, bowling alleys, recreation centers, movie theaters, water parks and trampoline parks. Locally, the Cuyahoga County Probate Court largely stops issuing marriage licenses.
Michigan: 65 cases
Ohio: 67 cases
The U.S.-Canadian border closes.
Ohio mandates all elective surgeries be postponed.
Michigan: 80 cases, including first death
Ohio: 88 cases
Michigan Department of Natural Resources closes shooting ranges and will restrict general public walk-in traffic at facilities statewide.
Ohio closes Bureaus of Motor Vehicles, state parks, barbershops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, nail salons and spas.
Michigan: 334 cases
Ohio: 119 cases
Ohio asks all businesses to respect social distancing and take employees’ temperatures before they arrive to work.
Michigan: 549 cases
Ohio: 169 cases, including first death
Michigan postpones all non-essential medical and dental procedures, including routine checkups, until at least March 21.
Ohio closes senior daycares, warns that it could close nonessential businesses if they do not comply with social distancing requirements.
Michigan: 787 cases
Ohio: 247 cases
Michigan closes salons and spas, beginning Monday. Oakland County orders all enclosed shopping malls in the county to close and restricted access to playground equipment
Ohio closes centers for adults with developmental disabilities.
Cleveland.com’s Peter Krouse contributed to this article.