New Orleans has become one of the fastest-growing hot spots for the coronavirus, with the death rate in the Louisiana city now reaching twice that of New York City. Now, local officials say that the state’s higher rates of obesity and chronic diseases are a major factor.
As the New York Post reported, the death per-capita rate in New Orleans reached 37.93 per 100,000 people this week, while New York City’s stood at 18.86 per 100,000 people. The virus has spread across the state of Louisiana, with 12,400 cases reported as of Sunday, making it second only to New York in per-capita infections.
The high death rate in New Orleans has been attributed in part to a higher percentage of preexisting conditions among residents, said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. As the New York Post noted, the state of Louisiana has higher rates of obesity and instances of chronic diseases like diabetes than the nation as a whole.
“We have more than our fair share of people who have the comorbidities that make them especially vulnerable,” Edwards told The Wall Street Journal, via the New York Post.
People with preexisting medical conditions and over the age of 60 have been the most vulnerable to the virus, medical experts have said.
Some of the deaths from around the city have been notable. As The Inquisitr reported, former New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey died this weekend, reportedly from complications of the virus. The report noted that Dempsey, who suffered from dementia in the years leading up to his death, contracted the virus in a nursing home where 15 people have already died.
As the NOLA.com reported, the total deaths from the novel coronavirus have already surpassed the number of 2019 homicide victims in the entire metro New Orleans area.
“By Thursday, Orleans Parish’s 125 deaths, which have accumulated in only a month’s time, eclipsed the total of 120 killed by gun violence in 2019. Louisiana Department of Health officials the COVID-19 death total for New Orleans stands at 161 as of Sunday,” the report noted. “Jefferson Parish’s death toll exceeded its 2019 homicide count on Tuesday, while St. Tammany Parish surpassed its 2019 homicide total on Saturday.”
As the New York Post noted, Louisiana has taken aggressive steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Aside from issuing remain-in-place orders to residents and ordering the closing of all nonessential businesses, the state has also ramped up its testing efforts in order to identify cases. But medical experts have warned that the worst of the coronavirus is still to come in the weeks and months yet to come.