Obesity, diabetes, heart disease: deadly factors in New Orleans’ coronavirus outbreak

The Crescent City earned the title of the city with the most rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases in the world. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the current trajectory of case growth in Louisiana was similar to those in Spain and Italy.

New Orleans’ death rate is 7 times that of New York

New Orleans suffers a COVID-19 per-capita death rate seven times higher than New York and 10 times that of hard-hit Seattle, according to a report by Reuters.

Researchers struggle where to place blame: the crowds of Mardi Graschurchesnursing homes? Emerging data trends show that 97% of those who were killed by the coronavirus in Louisiana suffered from a pre-existing health condition, most prominently, obesity.

»MORE: New Orleans faces most rapid growth of coronavirus in the world

A recent CDC report shows that 78% of ICU patients and 71% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had one or more reported underlying health condition, NBC reported.

Culprit conditions include diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease.

This is bad news for a city such as New Orleans, whose obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes rates are above the national median.

"We're just sicker. We already had tremendous health care disparities before this pandemic — one can only imagine they are being amplified now." — Rebekah Gee, former health secretary for Louisiana

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Tracey Moffatt, the chief nursing officer at Ochsner Health, shared stories of multiple generations suffering from obesity requiring intubation after testing positive for COVID-19.

As family members become vulnerable to the same medical conditions, age no longer discriminates when it comes to the novel coronavirus.

"We had a case where a mom was already in the ICU and the daughter, who was obese, came in," Moffatt said. "The daughter asked staff to wheel her by her mom's room so she could say goodbye before she herself was intubated. We knew the mother was going to pass away."


Health care workers agree that New Orleans’ condition should be a warning to the United States.

The obesity rates in the United States far outpace other developed countries, especially in the South.

Wallethub released a study in November that showed how prevalent obesity is in various states. Louisiana is seventh in the nation.

Source: WalletHub

These statistics leave health officials worried about what this could mean as the coronavirus spreads.

»MORE: Georgia in top 20 in the US for most overweight residents, report says

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