A doctor is alleging that Fat Tuesday’s traditional Bourbon Street revelry could have fueled the spread of the coronavirus. New Orleans currently has 567 of Louisiana’s coronavirus cases and 20 deaths and it’s considered the epicenter in the state.
NBC News reports that doctors and residents think Mardi Gras, which ran from Jan. 6 to Fat Tuesday on Feb. 26 this year could have contributed to the outbreak.
“I think it came during Mardi Gras, given the timing of it. Someone brought it here and then it starts spreading slowly,” Dr. Joshua Denson, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, told NBC News.
“I diagnosed the second case, the first critically ill patient, here last weekend. Her timing was about two weeks post-Mardi Gras,” he said.
A second doctor agreed.
Dr. Richard Oberhelman, chairman of the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, also thinks the packed crowds contributed to the spread.
“People are really packed close together, especially for some of the big parades in the downtown section and really all along the route. There are a lot of opportunities for close contact and transmission,” Oberhelman said.
Bars and restaurants in NOLA are closed, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has been postponed. NBC adds that Mayor LaToya Cantrell even ordered basketball hoops removed from city facilities Sunday because people were still out on the courts.