REPORT: Experts warn major city in the South emerging as next coronavirus epicenter
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(Reuters) – New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the United States, dimming hopes that less densely populated and warmer-climate cities would escape the worst of the pandemic, and that summer months could see it wane.
The plight of New Orleans – with the world’s highest growth rate in coronavirus cases – also raises fears that the city may become a powerful catalyst in spreading the virus across the south of the country. Authorities have warned the number of cases in New Orleans could overwhelm its hospitals by April 4.
The article goes on to state the following:
New Orleans is the biggest city in Louisiana, the state with the third-highest case load of coronavirus in the United States on a per capita basis after the major epicenters of New York and Washington.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Louisiana had 1,795 known cases of coronavirus, and 65 deaths. The Reuters report noted that 70% of the confirmed cases are in the New Orleans area. 407 new cases have popped up in Louisiana within the past 24 hours.
Dr. Rebekah Gee, who heads up Louisiana State University’s health care services division, warned that New Orleans is “on the trajectory to become the epicenter for the outbreak in the United States.”
“Mardi Gras was the perfect storm, it provided the perfect conditions for the spread of this virus,” she explained, noting that the annual tradition involved people congregating in large crowds with about 1.4 million tourists.
“We shared drink cups. We shared each other’s space in the crowds. We shared floats where we were throwing not just beads but probably coronavirus off Carnival floats to people who caught it and took it with them to where they came from.”
Dr. Peter Hotez, a renowned vaccine scientist and an expert on the coronavirus pandemic who is the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College, said experts had hoped the upcoming warm weather would help to defuse the deadly virus, but the explosion of cases in New Orleans is “deeply worrying and a possible harbinger for worse to come across the south.”
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) March 25, 2020
— DMLNewsApp (@DMLNewsApp) March 25, 2020
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