Louisiana is rapidly becoming a regional epicenter in the South for COVID-19. Since identifying its first positive case on March 9, the number of confirmed cases in the state has exploded to 5,237 by March 31, with 239 deaths. Governor John Bel Edwards says his state now has the fastest growth rate of coronavirus cases in the world and could soon “look like Italy,” where the pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals and killed more than 12,000 people.

The effects are particularly acute in New Orleans, which accounts for the bulk of the state’s confirmed cases with 1,834 cases and 101 deaths recorded in the city so far. As the pandemic continues to tax health care systems across the country and plunges the nation into a recession,

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