Counties in Louisiana, Georgia Lead Nation in COVID Death Rate

All eyes are fixed on New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak with its skyrocketing deaths, but the six counties with the highest number of coronavirus deaths per capita are in two Southern states as of April 1. Manhattan is #7.

2 minute read

April 3, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Atlanta, Georgia

Pavel Metluk / Shutterstock

"Louisiana and Georgia have the six counties with the highest number of covid-19 deaths in the country per capita, followed by New York County in seventh place, according to data presented by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) at a news briefing Wednesday afternoon," according to a April 1, 2:36 p.m. "live update" by David Montgomery of The Washington Post.

St. John the Baptist Parish, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans, leads the nation with 27.8 deaths per 100,000 residents, followed by Orleans Parish — the city of New Orleans — with 25.8.

Lee County and Dougherty County, Ga., in and around Albany, are next, with 20.2 and 19.7 deaths per 100,000 residents, respectively. Jefferson Parish, outside New Orleans, and St. Charles Parish, west of New Orleans, follow with 13.1 and 11.3 deaths per 100,000 residents, respectively.

New York County (11.1), Wayne County, Mich. (6.8), King County, Wash. (6.7), and Miami County, Ohio (5.6), fill out the top 10.

In a separate piece published a day earlier, Montgomery reports that the ventilator supply is a key concern. "The state has ordered 14,000 in the past few weeks and received just 292, Edwards said."

Even with the shipment of 150 promised by President Trump, Edwards said they will reach their capacity for COVID patients in intensive care units (ICU) on April 6. "We expect people will die because they will not be able to receive the care that they need," he added.

Edwards pointed to high chronic health conditions per capita in his state as one of the reasons for the high death rate. Medical experts said that Mardi Gras held in New Orleans on Feb. 22 likely accelerated the crisis, according to a deep dive by The New York Times. [Ed.: The New York Times article has attracted strong criticism online for generalizing about the U.S. South, neglecting issues of race and social justice, and more. But the source of that controversy originated from a different article.] 

Edwards issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 22 and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced on April 1 that he would issue a shelter in place order, though it didn't appear on his website on Wednesday evening.

Hat tip to Rachel Maddow.

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