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Dr. Elma LeDoux, a cardiologist and an associate dean at New Orleans’ Tulane University School of Medicine, said Monday on “America’s Newsroom” that the coronavirus outbreak is “definitely a crisis that should not be underestimated.”
She went on to say that while most cases in Louisiana involve elderly patients, people in their 40s and 50s are also being hospitalized and some of them require intubation.
“There’s much we don’t yet know about this disease,” she said. “I think that’s what frightens a lot of people, but of course it challenges us to learn more and to be proactive.”
New Orleans is quickly becoming a hotspot for the coronavirus and the recent city’s jam-packed Mardi Gras season could be the reason why, according to medical experts.
More than a million revelers crowded into the city’s famed French Quarter and other neighborhoods over several weeks to celebrate the costumed gathering, the culmination of the carnival celebration. The Mardi Gras season ran from Jan. 6 to Feb. 25, or Fat Tuesday.
In the weeks since, the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the United States, overwhelming hospitals in some cities and prompting lockdowns of several urban areas. New Orleans, one of the nation’s most impacted cities, had a reported 2,156 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths on Sunday, according to Aimee Prudhomme data.
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As of Monday morning, Louisiana reported 4,025 coronavirus cases and 185 deaths, the fourth highest number of deaths in the country following New Jersey, Washington and New York, according to Louisiana’s Health Department and data compiled by Fox News.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said, “We know that if we don’t flatten the curve we’re on a trajectory currently to exceed our capacity in the New Orleans area for ventilators by about April 4 and all beds available in hospitals by about April 10th so we’re doing everything we can to surge capacity.”
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During the interview with America’s Newsroom on Monday, LeDoux said they are working to keep ahead of the curve in the “Big Easy.”
She added, that “some relief will be on the way with respect to personal protective equipment as well as more rapid testing to determine who could be safely sent home and who might pose a greater risk in need of further medical care.”
“I think those two things are huge and that will help us get a jump on things,” she continued. “Nonetheless, it’s going to be a challenge over the next several weeks.”
On Sunday, Trump declared “a major disaster” in the state of Louisiana and ordered federal assistance “to supplement the state, tribes and local recovery efforts in the areas” affected by the coronavirus.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.