In February, the nation added 273,000 jobs to the economy and the unemployment rate was only 3.5%. The Trump economy was booming, the stock market was hitting record highs and the American public was confident about the future of the economy. My, how times have changed.
Since that idyllic period, worries about the coronavirus have exploded and the nation’s economy has been essentially shut down, except for certain critical sectors. All indicators have moved to negative territory. For example, the stock market is down about 30% from its February all-time high.
Roughly one month ago, Louisiana had no coronavirus cases report. Today, the state Department of Health and Hospitals claim there are 10,297 reported, 370 deaths reported, 1707 patients in hospitals, 535 of them on ventilators.
Also, over 53,000 tests have been completed, with 49,608 being done by state labs.
The New Orleans region is one of the nation's top hot spots. In New Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, deaths alone amount to 233.
The world is forever changed with the advent of this pandemic. The casualties may include traditional forms of greetings such as handshakes and hugging as more people embrace the new standard of “social distancing.”
Possibly, large public events will become rare occurrences. Fewer people will shop at retail locations or attend movie theaters, as the rush toward online shopping and entertainment will be accelerated. Popular modes of travel such as cruise ships may find fewer customers in the future as the many coronavirus worries may disturb American life for many years to come.
The United States has now become the world leader in a rather unfortunate category with the largest number of coronavirus victims. As of Friday March 27, there were 92, 282 confirmed cases and 1,380 deaths associated with the coronavirus in the United States. The area with the fifth highest total of deaths in the country is Orleans Parish, which leads the nation in fatalities per capita.
With the coronavirus spreading across the nation, all Americans are feeling vulnerable and nervous about the future. Incredible steps have been taken to shut down interaction among people and slow the spread of the killer disease. Hopefully, these measures will be successful, and life will soon return to normal in the country.
In the meantime, the crisis will get worse before it eventually gets better. One place that is being particularly hard hit is Louisiana. Our state is facing a crisis like nothing it has ever experienced. We are used to dealing with hurricanes and natural disasters, but this crisis is multi-faceted and will be long-lasting.