Gov. Edwards: Louisiana has the highest initial growth rate in COVID-19 cases in the world

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BATON ROUGE – According to a study conducted at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana saw the highest initial growth rate of confirmed cases of coronavirus anywhere in the world

Governor John Bel Edwards shared the sobering statistic during a press conference to announce the new statewide “stay at home” order this afternoon.

That order, which bans all but the most essential travel and work across the entire state in an effort to stem the coronavirus crisis, goes into effect on March 23 at 5 p.m.

Without such sweeping measures, Edwards said, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Louisiana will continue to spike, much as they did in Italy.

“I’ve said this before, but there is no reason to believe that we won’t be the next Italy,” he said. “What happened in Italy is they started too late. People didn’t socially distance. They thought they could just focus on that part of the country where the outbreak was heaviest.”

That type of thinking led to a spike in confirmed cases that quickly overwhelmed the entire country’s healthcare system. Edwards has warned of a similar situation in Louisiana all week, but the state has already far outpaced Italy and the rest of the world in one sobering statistic.

“We have the fastest growth rate of confirmed cases in the world over the first 13 days, right here in Louisiana,” Edwards said. “In the last two weeks our growth rate has been faster than any state or country in the world. This is why it matters.”

Edwards went on to show a graph outlining the projected path of confirmed cases of Louisiana and a handful of other countries, including Italy and South Korea.

In South Korea, measures much like the statewide “stay at home” order helped effectively “flatten the curve,” Edwards said, which is one of the reasons he said he made the decision to issue the order.

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