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Governor: Louisiana has lost 'months of progress' in COVID fight

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BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards painted a dire picture for Louisiana's fight against the coronavirus Friday, telling reporters the state has lost several months' worth of progress in a matter of weeks. 

The governor's news conference came as the state grapples with a surge in new cases, mostly in Louisianans who haven't gotten the vaccine. As of Friday, 563 patients are in hospitals with COVID, up from 259 on July 1. 

"Over the last two to three weeks, we have lost more than four months of progress in our hospitalization numbers," Edwards said.

According to state health officials, 97 percent of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Louisiana since February were reported in people who weren't fully vaccinated. The percentage of Louisiana's population currently vaccinated stands at around 36 percent, according to state data.

The governor attributed the low vaccination rate in part to misinformation being spread about the vaccine. 

"The U.S. Surgeon General... stated, and I think very accurately, that the misinformation out there about COVID vaccines is literally costing lives," Edwards said. 

Edwards added that the number of new COVID cases in Louisiana increased by 167 percent over the past two weeks. Low vaccination rate aside, health experts also attributed that spike to apathy for other variants of the virus. 

"Delta variant is a different virus from last year" said Dr. Catherine O'Neal with Our Lady of the Lake. "We cannot take what we think we learned from last year's virus and apply it to this summer, because it's killing us."

You can read more on the latest coronavirus data here

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