Who Is Dying in Louisiana From COVID-19?

Governor John Bel Edwards announced today that a Louisiana child who was less than one-year-old died this week from COVID-19.  “Today, the Louisiana Department of Health confirms the death of a child under the age of 1- the first of the fourth surge of COVID-19 in the state, which is largely driven by the stronger, more contagious Delta variant and the state’s lower vaccination rates.”

The daily update from the state health department reports 110 new deaths from COVID, including this child, bringing Louisiana’s total deaths to 12,226. “Each COVID-19 death in Louisiana has been heart wrenching, but the loss of such a young child, who could not be vaccinated yet, is tragic and a stark reminder of the difficult circumstance we are in throughout Louisiana,” Edwards said.

Currently younger people are being hospitalized in greater numbers. “They are getting sicker than in the previous surge and, unfortunately some of them may die. Already this week, we have confirmed 6,146 COVID cases in children and last week there were 63 pediatric cases of COVID admitted to the hospital. Even children who are not hospitalized or very sick are contagious,” he continued.

Edwards explained that the Delta variant, which now accounts for all of the COVID cases in Louisiana, is far more contagious than previous strains as Louisiana’s strained hospitals prove. “We have hope in the form of safe and effective vaccines, but only if many more of us who are eligible and able to actually take them and only if we slow the spread of this illness through masking and distancing as well.  All Louisianans, regardless of their age or health status, are worthy of our care and attention. Every person lost to this virus, young or old, leaves a hole in the fabric of our communities,” Edwards said.

Due to the Delta variant, an unprecedented number of children are being treated for the virus at Children’s Hospital.  Eleven children younger than 18 have died in Louisiana due to COVID-19.

Though a larger percentage of younger adults are being hospitalized, the vast majority of people dying from COVID-19 are still older and unvaccinated.  According to the daily New York Times Coronavirus Report, in many locales – especially in the South and the Mountain West – seniors without full vaccination make up more than 10 % of the total population.

In Los Angeles County, an unvaccinated person is up to 25 times as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, according to official California health data. In contrast, even in London England where vaccine hesitancy is high, the number of unvaccinated seniors in Britain overall is extremely low.

In information updated today, the Louisiana Department of Health statistics show that the average age of a Louisiana citizen who perishes from COVID-19 is 73 years. Seniors had the first opportunity to receive the vaccine. Those still holding out may be doing so for many reasons including politics, personal beliefs, or a lack of trust in public health and government.

More Louisiana men (53.20%) than women (46.80%) have died from the virus.  Of the overall total, 61.20% are White, 37.20% Black, 0.80% Asian, 0.20% American Indian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 0.30 other and 0.10 unknown. In terms of ethnicity, 2.7% of victims are Hispanic/Latino.

The most prevalent underlying conditions Louisiana patients exhibit are hypertension (62.60%), diabetes (36.7%), cardiac disease (28.60%), and neurological (25.90%).

Almost 4 million doses of one of three available vaccines have been administered to Louisiana residents. 1.8 million Louisiana residents have fully completed their vaccine series. This group includes 1,060,691 Whites, 541,448 Blacks and 192,278 other race. More women (995,921) have been fully vaccinated than men (823,930). In the 70 plus age category, 384,853 seniors have been completely vaccinated.

According to the state health department dashboard, Louisiana citizens who have received one shot include 72,479 (ages 18-29), 65,530 (ages 30-39), 58,372 (ages 40-49), 52,484 (ages 50-59), 37,329 (ages 60-69) and 23,006 (ages 70 plus).

There are 309,339 children ages 0-4 who remain unvaccinated because an approved shot is not yet available. In the age 5-17 group, 683,308 children and teens have yet to be vaccinated.  Almost a quarter of a million citizens ages 40 to 49 and 50-59 have not received even one shot. That number increases to 341,194 for 30-39 year olds. Citizens 60 to 69 years of age are much more likely to be vaccinated. Only 103,595 haven’t gotten a shot. The number of unvaccinated Louisiana citizens drops even further for those ages 70 plus where only 34,385 have not received an inoculated.

Unvaccinated African Americans total 843,973. The number of unvaccinated Whites stands at 1,648,659. Other races account for 28,139 persons. Unvaccinated women account for 1,100,349 of the total while 1,309,535 unvaccinated men are also in that number.

The numbers speak for themselves. All these statistics are solid proof that Louisiana still has a long way to go to successfully vaccinate a large majority of its citizens and thereby slow down the rate of deaths.

No one is immune to this virus’ impact, said state health office Dr. Joseph Kanter. He recommends that all citizens get vaccinated and wear a mask to protect themselves or their loved one and young children who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. “It’s really that simple,” Kanter said.

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