By ALAN SMASON
Bemoaning the medical plight in his state due to rampant infection rates of coronavirus that have claimed 46 lives so far, Governor John Bel Edwards asked President Donald Trump to declare Louisiana a federal disaster area on Tuesday afternoon, March 24, in a move that could grant the state access to much-needed federal emergency funds to fight COVID-19.
Edwards provided the latest grim statistics in his daily update at noon. So far, 1,388 confirmed cases have been reported, marking Louisiana’s confirmed infection rate at 73.9%. That rate leads the state with the largest number of infections, New York, with a rate of 68.5%. According to Edwards, Louisiana’s rate leads the world including the percent of confirmed cases found in The Netherlands (64.1%), Poland (53.9%), Canada (46.4%) and Portugal (44.7%).
Locally, 26 deaths from 675 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded, far and away the parish with the most infections. Jefferson Parish has registered a distant second with 6 deaths from 293 confirmed cases.
Edwards said that he expects the peak of the outbreak to occur around the first week of April, possibly April 1-3. By encouraging social distancing, he said he hopes that Louisiana will see the curve flatten and not overwhelm the available life-saving medical resources at area hospitals such as ventilators as well as to not deplete supplies such as surgical masks and gowns.