Officials in Louisiana, which had 9,150 cases of the deadly coronavirus on Thursday, have noticed a preexisting condition trend among those who have passed away due to COVID-19.
According to the state health department, 97 percent of those that have been killed by the worldwide coronavirus had a preexisting condition. Of those preexisting conditions, diabetes was highlighted in 40 percent of the deaths, while diabetes was highlighted in another 25 percent. Chronic kidney disease (25 percent) and cardiac problems (21 percent) were also preexisting conditions noted in deaths due to the coronavirus.
Thomson Reuters News Foundation, which questioned why New Orleans’ coronavirus death rate is seven times New York’s, noted:
New Orleans residents suffer from obesity, diabetes and hypertension at rates higher than the national average, conditions that doctors and public health officials say can make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
As of Thursday, New Orleans had reported more than 270 coronavirus deaths. Health officials have said factors that contribute to New Orleans’ high death rate for the virus are due to other conditions, which include lung disease.
“We’re just sicker,” said Rebekah Gee, who once served as Health Secretary for Louisiana and now leads Louisiana State University’s healthcare services division. “We already had tremendous healthcare disparities before this pandemic – one can only imagine they are being amplified now.”
“We had a case where a mom was already in the ICU and the daughter, who was obese, came in,” said Tracey Moffatt, the chief nursing officer at Ochsner Health. “The daughter asked staff to wheel her by her mom’s room so she could say goodbye before she herself was intubated. We knew the mother was going to pass away.”
Both patients described by Moffatt suffered from obesity.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report which showed that 78 percent of COVID-19 patients in ICUs in the United States had an underlying health condition, which included diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease.
“What we worry about here is that we have more people in our communities with those conditions,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, a doctor and a top public health official in New Orleans. “We’re more vulnerable than other communities, and the number of deaths we’ve seen illustrates that.”
The national median for those with high blood pressure is 32 percent, while 31 percent suffer from obesity and 11 percent suffer from diabetes.