Report Explores Lessons Learned After One Year with COVID

Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

On March 14, 2021, Louisiana passed the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 death in the state. In honor of this milestone, The Data Center has released the first half of a new report exploring the lessons learned after one year of COVID.

The Science

We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19 since the first lockdown was implemented in March of 2020. While early precautions focused on contaminated objects (fomite transmission), we now know that the coronavirus is mainly transmitted through airborne particles. That doesn’t mean that contaminated surfaces aren’t a factor, however; COVID-19 can be transmitted via a contaminated surface for up to two hours after an infected person has coughed or sneezed on it. As such, good hand washing practices are key to helping to stop the spread of the virus.

We also now know that COVID-19 is an airborne disease, transmitted through respiratory droplets that are inhaled directly or absorbed by the mucus membranes in your nose and mouth. These droplets can remain suspended for as long as three hours in poorly ventilated areas. This is why mask-wearing and physical distancing are so important to cutting transmissions of the virus.

According to The Data Center, data showed that spikes in the coronavirus were very closely correlated with apathy toward mask-wearing. The fewer people were wearing masks, the more infections spread.

Graphic courtesy The Data Center

COVID-19 Demographics

Locally, COVID-19 demographics have closely mirrored national trends. Several studies have found that 20-49-year-olds are the primary source for sustained transmission. In addition, a rise in cases among younger adults ages 18 to 29 has preceded both the second and third infection waves. Researchers believe that younger adults are less likely to adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing, particularly White 18- to 22-year-olds attending college or university.

However, as with most natural disasters, the impact of COVID-19 did not affect all communities evenly. Black and Brown communities have borne the brunt of the pandemic, in the number of hospitalizations and deaths as well as the economic fallout in the form of job loss. As noted by the report, “Disasters tend to increase inequity because more vulnerable individuals suffer more severe health impacts, greater income loss, and receive less government assistance despite experiencing equivalent or greater damages.”

Economic Impacts

Louisiana is heavily reliant on the tourism and hospitality industries, particularly in New Orleans and similar parishes. Unfortunately, the CDC found that bars and restaurants were top spreaders of the coronavirus, due to the need to remove one’s mask while eating or drinking. Unfortunately, these small businesses also tend to be the least resilient and able to respond to an interruption in cash flow during the shutdowns implemented to protect citizens from the spread of the disease.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, as of mid-Feb. 2021 contact tracers identified 98 outbreaks originating at restaurants resulted in 382 cases across the state, and 50 outbreaks originating at bars resulted in 537 cases across the state. This has resulted in stricter limitations and longer closures placed on bars and restaurants.


Getting citizens vaccinated remains a top priority in the state of Louisiana. Currently, Louisiana – and New Orleans, specifically – leads the nation in vaccine distribution. At this point, there are three vaccines approved for use in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. All three vaccines are 100 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 related death.

There is some concern, however regarding how effective the vaccines are against new variant strains beginning to spread across the country. Currently, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown decreased efficacy when tested against new strains. It is also believed that new strains are the reason the Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially showed slightly lower efficacy results when compared to Pfizer and Moderna.

The emergence of variant strains is one reason that it remains vital that individuals continue to social distance and wear masks whenever possible. The more people who contract the coronavirus, the higher the chance for mutation and the greater a chance that new strains will emerge.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *