NEW ORLEANS (April 3, 2020) – With now more than 10,000 cases detected and 370 deaths in Louisiana – and more than 5,000 of them detected in Orleans and Jefferson parishes alone –local and state officials are urging residents to “stay home” in order to save lives during this widespread pandemic.
No matter where you turn, whether you log onto social media, tune in to the news on television or read news articles online, everyone everywhere is talking about and reporting the latest news on COVID-19. This group of RNA viruses made its U.S. debut in the state of Washington and is now all over the country; however, Louisiana has become the latest coronavirus hotspot.
Professor Gary Wagner of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said in a news article on TheAdvertiser.com that the coronavirus spread faster in the first two weeks of the state's outbreak than in any other states and countries across the globe.
Per Wagner’s analysis at the time, “Coronavirus cases in [Louisiana] grew at an average of 73.9 percent a day in the 13 days since the state's first case was found two weeks ago, putting it above New York state, which accounts for about half of the country's confirmed cases.” This led Gov. John Bel Edwards to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order to the entire state of Louisiana, which went into effect at 5 p.m. on March 23; it has since been expanded to the end of April.
Bars, malls, movie theaters, hair salons, barbershops, bowling alleys and any other non-essential businesses have been shut down with no certainty as to when they will reopen.
“The trajectory of case growth is very alarming,” said Gov. Edwards on Twitter on March 25. “It’s important for all of us to stay home, stop the spread and flatten the curve now more than ever.”
The problem we face in Louisiana is that residents, especially those under the age of 35 with no medical conditions, are not taking this pandemic as seriously as we should. As stated by the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, or CDC, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk for more serious complications, or even fatality, from COVID-19. This has led the younger generation to believe that just because we have a lesser chance of dying, we do not play a role in the spread of this virus.
According to WWL-TV, a 17-year-old from New Orleans died from the coronavirus disease March 26, the first death reported in Louisiana under the age of 36. While it has not been reported as to whether this teenager had pre-existing health conditions, this should serve as a wake-up call for the younger generation. While we may not be at as much of a risk as the elderly, we are not immune from this widespread disease nor are we immune from its fatality. Symptoms for this disease take at least two and no more than 14 days to show up, which means while you might not have a fever or a dry cough today, you could have those symptoms next week and have been walking around with this virus for at least seven days.
Our charge to those under the age of 35 is to cooperate with local, state and health officials by staying home and saving lives. No one can predict when this pandemic will start to slow down; however, it will be no time soon if we continue to take matters into our own hands and disregard the order given to us by the CDC, state and local government officials.
As the governor has stressed, “It is of the utmost importance that we all be good neighbors and follow the mitigation measures that we know work…We are resilient, we will get through this, and we will come back stronger.”