The alarming message of Louisiana’s sharp rise in Covid-19 cases

Although all eyes are on New Orleans, an equally alarming outbreak is occurring in a smaller city north of the state. Shreveport, near the Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma border – a region locally known as Ark-La-Tex (sorry, Oklahoma) – has about 200,000 people and sits across the Red River from Bossier City, with a population of 70,000. And right now it's in the first stages of its own unique Covid-19 nightmare.

In recent days, the cases from these sister cities, which are in Caddo and Bossier parish, have increased 30 or 40 a day. From March 29, the total for the two priests' debts sit down 275 in total, including five deaths. Incredible, just a week ago, there were only 21 cases. That said, this has serious problems.

On the positive side, however, Dr. Puja Nambiar, a communicable disease specialist at LSU Health Shreveport Medical School, said that Shreveport experts have been able to work closely with the team at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, using protocols and wave planning developed by experts one week ahead of the epidemic. Hopefully it will help curb the tide.

No one is quite sure why Shreveport has been hit. Although traveling from New Orleans is certainly a possibility, it is a good five-hour drive to the Big Easy. Rather, some think that Shreveport Mardi Gras, a multi-day affair there usually pulls between 250,000 and 400,000 participants annually may be the source, just as some believe Mardi Gras may have contributed to light the outbreak in New Orleans. However, some experts on infectious diseases in New Orleans believe that this theory overlooks an equally likely explanation.

Instead of the festive crowds keeping a very safe social distance on the streets of New Orleans, Dr. Dahlene Fusco, a professor of infectious disease at Tulane University, said that many leave the city under Mardi Gras to escape mental illness – and then return when the dust settles.

Maybe these people bring the infection from their travels to New York and California. Although the answer is critical, Fusco said that only a systematic study that could take months will clarify the cause of Louisiana's sudden almost overwhelming epidemic.

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Shreveport Mardi Gras is scattered throughout several weekends, which ends Feb. 25 this year. Also it is noisy and festive and just as deliberately chaotic as the southern counterpart.

But there is probably a difference in who decides to go there. Many "revelers" who choose New Orleans are far from it – it's a goal, even a bucket list, because of its fame, the feeling of leaving and the opportunity that shadows the event, food and drink in the French Quarter, in addition to metropolitan activities – art museums, professional sports, unique and beautiful architecture.

Shreveport, on the other hand, is a sad, proud river town that has had its historic highs and lows. A century ago it was a junction for standard oil; now there are different industries, some colleges, a massive casino and riverboats. Few villagers go there for the nightlife or the art or the sense of drama.
Shreveport's Mardi Gras brings in a local, small town type of revel from millions of people in the cities that comprise the Ark-La-Tex region. A report on the economic impact of Shreveport Mardi Gras noted that approx. one third of visitors was from outside the area.

Something that should worry the Trump administration as they plan for a possible return of social distancing. Their assumption is simple – some places don't have the virus.

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Right now, the call to places without Covid-19 seems like a very short list. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that some places have not diagnosed the virus. We don't just know if the virus is there or not. But that's enough.

according to Covid Tracking Project, as of March 29, Louisiana had done at least 25,000 tests in a state with more than 4.6 million people. Most worryingly, around 500 of the 3,540 Covid-19 cases have been diagnosed in areas outside New Orleans to the Baton Rouge axis.
In addition, it's a place like Longview, Texas, about an hour west of Shreveport. Currently, there is no information on how many people from Longview's Gregg County (four cases) and Smith County nearby (30 cases) traveled to Shreveport for Mardi Gras. But we know these areas are extremely concerned about Covid-19 cases in their area. To them – correctly – all evidence of transfer from the local community is a signal that the containment efforts must be organized.
And local officials know need to test.

These numerous infections in a mid-sized city like Shreveport and the first infection pulse in nearby cities argue strongly against the president's plan to open some areas by Easter and more strongly against the White House & # 39; coronavirus taskforc coordinator

Dr. Deborah Birx & # 39; s statement that "almost 40 percent of the country (has)

) extremely low numbers and they test. "Low compared to New York and New Orleans – sure. But sure enough to signal everything clearly? Not even weakly true.

The Covid-19 epidemic in the United States has moved from "Oh, it's just a nursing home" in Washington state to "Oh, it's New York City, it's a total mess" to "Oh, it's New Orleans what did you expect , they always have problems "to the current face of the outbreak: Shreveport, Louisiana, Longview, Texas, and countless other cities and small towns that have evidence of infection, little testing, much worry and countless citizens who just want help, that they can do the right thing.


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