“Hot spots like Detroit, like Chicago, like New Orleans… will have a worse week next week than what they had this week,” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned in a “CBS This Morning” on Friday. This as Louisiana has surpassed 2,300 confirmed cases, and New Orleans seemingly ‘out of nowhere’ emerged as a US epicenter alongside New York, given it was only two weeks ago Louisiana had 300 just coronavirus cases total, but now New Orleans alone has reached 1,000 cases.
And separately federal officials stationed in New Orleans say the city faces a drastic shortage of ventilators and protective equipment: “This is going to be the disaster that defines our generation,” Collin Arnold, director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told CNN Thursday.
Already the blame-game has begun, as previously neglected Louisiana is thrust into the spotlight. Consider this astounding CNN appearance by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who says it’s all Trump’s fault because she thought it was ‘safe’ to go ahead with Mardi Gras which likely infected hundreds with coronavirus:
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell blames Trump for her not canceling Mardi Gras: "When it’s not taken seriously at the federal level. It’s very difficult to transcend down to the local level in making these decisions." pic.twitter.com/JF1VgNsJHB
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 26, 2020
She claimed she as the mayor would have canceled Mardis Gras if only Trump had warned her! Talk about what is likely to remain the most cringe-worthy moment of passing the buck to come out of this crisis…
“Leaders on the ground, we rely on the facts to make decisions for the people that we serve,” said Cantrell, adding there were no “red flags” in February about Mardi Gras, which it should be noted sees some 1.4 million tourists descend on the Big Easy each year from January 6 to February 25, which marks Fat Tuesday.
“In hindsight, if we were given clear direction, we would not have had Mardi Gras, and I would have been the leader to cancel it,” Mayor Cantrell told CNN.
She framed her decision to move forward with events as usual as “backed up by the response of our national leader” – in a clear reference to President Trump.
“When it’s not taken seriously at the federal level. It’s very difficult to transcend down to the local level in making these decisions,” the mayor told Wolf Blitzer as she laid blame on everyone but herself.
Meanwhile a medical professional quoted in the New York Times admits, “I think it all boils down to Mardi Gras… The greatest free party in the world was a perfect incubator at the perfect time.”
And another, Dr. Rebekah Gee, former Health Secretary for Louisiana and now chief of Louisiana State University’s health care services division, put it like this:
“New Orleans had its normal level of celebration, which involved people congregating in large crowds and some 1.4 million tourists,” Gee said. “We shared drink cups. We shared each other’s space in the crowds. People were in close contact catching beads. It is now clear that people also caught coronavirus.”
The pandemic threat has now dramatically increased not just in Louisiana but across the entire south of the country.
Local authorities knew full well what was coming:
— Brantly Keiek (@BrantlyWx) March 16, 2020
As Reuters observes alarmingly: “The plight of New Orleans – with the world’s highest growth rate in coronavirus cases – also raises fears that the city may become a powerful catalyst in spreading the virus across the south of the country.”
“Authorities have warned the number of cases in New Orleans could overwhelm its hospitals by April 4,” the report warns.