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
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."
»COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS
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.
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