CDC: Mardi Gras may figure in count of Louisiana virus cases
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an influx of tourists for Mardi Gras may be a reason why Louisiana experienced a higher rate of COVID-19 cases than other Southern states.
In a report posted Friday, the CDC says population density might play “a significant role in the acceleration of transmission” of the coronavirus. And it said Louisiana experienced a “temporarily high” population density because of Carnival season visitors.
It also noted the season ended Feb. 25 — well before federal calls to discourage mass gatherings in mid-March.
Louisiana reported 34 newly recorded coronavirus-related deaths Sunday, bringing the death toll in the state to 840. The number of known cases continues to climb as testing continues. It reached 20,595 Sunday.
But officials say the rate of hospitalizations, while still increasing, has slowed. The number hospitalized in the state was 2,084 on Sunday, up a bit from 2,045 on Saturday. And the number of patients using ventilators continued dropping: 458 on Sunday were on ventilators, the health department said, down from 470 a day earlier.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, while stressing that social distancing must continue, has credited widespread public cooperation with state and local mandates against public gatherings and crowds with helping slow hospitalizations.
The mandates have led to parts of the usually bustling French Quarter to resemble a ghost town. But the city of New Orleans and Brennan’s restaurant made light of the situation in a lighthearted post on Twitter for Easter Sunday. It showed someone in an Easter bunny costume — and pink medical mask — skipping down an empty Royal Street in the quarter, stopping in front of the shuttered Brennan’s, and using a saber to knock the corks from champagne bottles.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild symptoms like fever and a cough that resolve in two to three weeks. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, more severe symptoms can occur, including pneumonia, that can lead to death.
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