New Orleans, Louisiana has reached a grim milestone in its fight against the novel coronavirus; more people in the metropolitan area have died from COVID-19 in the past month than were killed in all of 2019’s homicides.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which has been trying to keep track of the rising number of deaths, the city’s coronavirus deaths surpassed last year’s homicide totals late last week
By Thursday, Orleans Parish’s 125 deaths, which have accumulated in only a month’s time, eclipsed the total of 120 killed by gun violence in 2019. Louisiana Department of Health officials the COVID-19 death total for New Orleans stands at 161 as of Sunday.
Jefferson Parish’s death toll exceeded its 2019 homicide count on Tuesday, while St. Tammany Parish surpassed its 2019 homicide total on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the numbers of coronavirus deaths in Louisiana are continuing to grow, with 68 fatalities reported on Sunday. According to the latest statistical models, the state is expected to have more than 3-thousand deaths related to COVID-19 this year, which would dwarf the state’s homicide rate.
“That’s the upper end of uncertainty if we do it well,” said Joshua Yukich, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine who looked over the projections on Wednesday. “It’s not the upper end if we say, ‘Let’s put Jazz Fest back on and go on with our lives.’ “
The model, put together by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and evaluation, uses data from Wuhan, China, and Italy to estimate when the number of hospital beds, intensive care units and ventilators will surge and peak. Initially designed as a tool for those juggling those resources, it has gained significant attention in the past week, in part due to a user-friendly website that boils down its data into easily digestible information.
In Louisiana, the model predicts the need for medical resources will peak in about nine days, when up to 1,730 ventilators and 8,000 hospital beds will be needed for coronavirus patients.
That’s more twice the number of ventilators now available statewide and 3.5 times as many as are now being used to treat coronavirus patients.
Louisiana isn’t the only state to see last year’s homicide totals dwarfed by coronavirus deaths. New York has already surpassed its homicide totals for last year, and Georgia is well on its way. In fact, according to those same statistical models, with an estimated 200,000 or more coronavirus-related fatalities expected across the United States in the next couple of months, every state in the union will likely reach this same grim milestone. While we don’t have the official FBI figures on homicides in 2019 yet, in 2018 there were just over 16,000 homicides across the country, and 2019’s totals are likely to be around that same number, if not a little lower.
That means by the time the country comes out the other side of the coronavirus chaos, the number of victims is likely to be ten times or more the number of homicide victims in all of 2019. It’s a staggering figure, and a stark reminder of just how deadly the novel coronavirus really is.