COVID-19 Update: Study: Failure to Coordinate COVID-19 Response Costly, Indian Trails Resumes Bus Service Throughout Michigan and Beyond, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Aug. 9

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Study: Failure to Coordinate COVID-19 Response Costly
The lack of coordination between the states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could have “devastating effects,” according to a new study by researchers including one at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Students flocked to states to enjoy beaches when other states closed their tourist attractions, then returned home to test positive for the virus. People crossed state lines to get their hair done and to eat in restaurants, risking exposure to themselves and those at home.

These examples illustrate the disparities in state restrictions that researchers, including Paramveer Dhillon, a U-M assistant professor of information at the U-M School of Information, say contribute to the cost of the uncoordinated response.

Dhillon, along with collaborators from MIT and five other universities, collected data from mobile phones, social media, and the census to determine how the contact behaviors of people in a given region impact people in another state or region when reopening is not coordinated.

“We show that a state’s geographic and social network neighbors have a significant impact on shaping the contact patterns in that state,” Dhillon says. “This influence materializes both physically via people traveling across state borders and digitally via people’s social media connections in potentially far-off states.”

According to the study, uncoordinated policies can decrease total welfare by 69 percent. Most pandemic policies, the study says, have failed to straddle state borders highlighting the need for coordination among a state’s geographic as well as social network neighbors.

“Our paper advocates the type of coordination of stay-at-home and travel policies that have happened between the Northeast states in April (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Massachusetts) and between the Western states (Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California),” Dhillon says. “We believe that a national-level response to this pandemic is needed.”

To read the full study, visit here.

Indian Trails Resumes Bus Service Throughout Michigan and Beyond
Indian Trails Inc. has restarted most of its daily scheduled bus service, which includes routes throughout Michigan, and into Chicago, Milwaukee, and Duluth, Minn., plus reduced connections to the Greyhound and Amtrak national networks.

“We’re grateful to be resuming this important service in our region,” says Chad Cushman, president of Indian Trails. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve faced the biggest economic challenge in the 110-year history of our family-owned company.”

Ticket and schedule information can be found here.

Indian Trails suspended operation of its daily scheduled routes on March 21 for financial and safety reasons.

To minimize the chance of spreading coronavirus on its buses, Indian Trails is taking the following steps:

  • Requiring passengers to wear face masks for the duration of their trips.
  • Providing hand sanitizer on all buses.
  • Limiting the number of passengers per bus.
  • Asking passengers to occupy seats as far apart as possible.
  • Ventilating buses with fresh rather than recirculated air.
  • Providing transparent, protective barriers between drivers and passengers.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing buses after each run, with special attention to high-touch areas.
  • Spraying the entire interior of each bus with a disinfectant.
  • Requiring daily symptom checks of all on-duty employees, and requiring the workforce to abide by a detailed COVID-19 response plan.

Flagstar Bancorp Announces Proposed Secondary Offering of Common Stock
Flagstar Bancorp Inc. in Troy today announced a registered public secondary offering of 6 million shares of the company’s common stock, or approximately 10.5 percent of the company’s outstanding common stock.

All of the shares sold in the offering will be sold by MP Thrift Investments, which intends to grant the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 900,000 shares of the company’s common stock.

The company is not selling any shares of common stock and will not receive any proceeds from the proposed offering. Upon completion of the offering, assuming that the underwriter’s option to purchase additional shares is not exercised, MP Thrift will beneficially own approximately 25.6 percent of the company’s outstanding common stock.

Morgan Stanley is acting as underwriter for the proposed offering.

Wayne State and Amesite Partner to Provide Online Mobility Courses
Wayne State University in Detroit and Ann Arbor’s Amesite Inc., an artificial intelligence software company providing online learning ecosystems, today announced a partnership to provide 10 six-week certification courses aimed at those interested in career training within the next-gen mobility sector.

“Having our expert faculty partner with Amesite to provide a fully remote service that keeps our students trained on the latest in this field will advance our strategy of supporting alumni, and all professionals,” says Farshad Fotouhi, dean of WSU’s College of Engineering. “As the economy rebounds and restructures in the coming months and years, this is the type of training we want to be able to provide that is accessible to everyone and gets people learning the skills that are needed now and in the future.”

The certificates were designed to address key needs in mobility and emerging technology. The Mobility Cluster contains stackable certificates that offer upskilling in vehicle connectivity, new mobility service models, autonomous vehicles, and infrastructure. The Emerging Technology Cluster contains stackable certificates that cover AI, blockchain, data science, gamification, and smart manufacturing.

Courses launch in September. People interested in learning more about the certificates can visit here.

CHASS Center Offering Free Virtual Health Events
The Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center in southwest Detroit is marking National Health Center Week, Aug. 9-15, with free live stream forums and activities available to the public via Zoom and Facebook Live.

“CHASS Center is critical to the Detroit community and is dedicated to reaching beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse,” says Dr. Felix Valbuena Jr., CEO of the CHASS Center. “This year’s National Health Center Week is designed to highlight the important services we offer each day as we provide the highest quality health and wellness care to all patients, especially those in vulnerable populations.”

Among the events are a Care Beyond COVID-19 symposium; sessions about nutrition, oral health, mental health; and story time and a virtual 5K run/walk.

For more information, visit here.

GM Design Center to Host Virtual Brushes with Cancer Program
Twist Out Cancer will host its 2020 Brushes with Cancer program at GM’s Design Center in Warren, beginning with a virtual art exhibition on Friday, Sept. 25. It’s the first time the program will be conducted for employees of one company.

Brushes with Cancer pairs accomplished artists with people who are previvors, survivors, fighters, and caregivers affected by cancer. As they share their “twist on cancer” – stories, feelings, and experiences – the artists create pieces of art representing their personal journey with cancer.

This year, each of the 25 people and 23 artists involved in the program are employees at GM Design. Their artwork and the stories behind them will be available for everyone to view during a virtual art exhibition and celebratory event on Friday, Sept. 25. Tickets and more information are available here.

Following the event, the artwork will be on display at the GM Design Center Gallery until Friday, Oct. 30, and will be auctioned online. Proceeds from art sales are reinvested into Brushes with Cancer, helping to bring this program to more people around the world.

“Working with Twist Out Cancer is just another example of the work GM Design does to support our employees and our communities,” said Jeffrey Froggett, a senior graphic designer and gallery curator at the GM Design Center. “The Brushes with Cancer program has helped me honor my late wife, Julie, and I am confident that the 25 pieces of art will be some of the finest art that the GM Design Center Gallery has ever seen.”

Forgotten Harvest Announces Virtual Fundraising Event
Forgotten Harvest announces “On Track to End Hunger,” a virtual fundraising event hosted by Fox 2 News’ reporter and anchor Roop Raj on Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. here.

Viewers will have the opportunity to donate by texting “FEED20” to 91999 during the program through Sunday, Aug. 16, at noon. Presenting sponsor Mercedes-Benz Financial Services will match gifts up to $25,000. Additionally, the event’s online auction will begin Monday, Aug. 10 at noon and will be open through Sunday, Aug. 16 at noon.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has increased nearly 50 percent leaving many families and communities food insecure. Forgotten Harvest relies heavily on the support of donations, volunteers, and corporate sponsorships in its fight against hunger in metro Detroit.

For more information, visit here.

Davenport University Reschedules Event Featuring George W. Bush
Davenport University in Grand Rapids has rescheduled the 23rd Annual Excellence in Business Gala, its annual event to benefit student scholarships for Friday, May 14, 2021, which will feature a conversation between school president Richard J. Pappas and former President George W. Bush.

Guests will have an opportunity to hear about Bush’s time in the White House, the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century, as well his current work at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

During the event, Davenport also will recognize J.C. Huizenga, the chairman of Huizenga Group, with the Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award.

For more information, visit here.

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