Political News

Louisiana governor says state could run out of ventilators by end of the week if coronavirus cases continue to rise

Posted April 5, 2020 10:38 a.m. EDT

— Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Sunday said his state could run out of ventilators by the end of the week if the number of confirmed coronavirus cases there continue to surge.

"Every day we get new information that informs our modeling. We now think it's probably around the 9th of April before we exceed our ventilator capacity based on the current number on hand and that we're a couple of days behind that on ICU bed capacity being exceeded," he told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "As we achieve success in slowing the rate of spread, we also push out that date. And critically important is the number of people who will present to the hospital and not be able to get a (ventilator) or a bed, it's a smaller number."

Louisiana has emerged as one of several coronavirus hot spots across the United States with a surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. The state has more than 12,000 cases and more than 400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. Early Sunday, the nationwide death toll had gone up to at least 8,503 people, with at least 312,245 infected, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins.

Edwards continued, "So we're encouraging everyone in Louisiana to take social distancing, the stay-at-home order, very seriously because that's how we're going to save people's lives at the end of the day."

Modeling cited by White House officials project that, even with stringent mitigation efforts, between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans will die from coronavirus. And President Donald Trump has refrained from issuing a nationwide stay-at-home order, preferring to leave it to states to decide.

Just eight US governors have decided against issuing statewide directives urging their residents to stay at home as the outbreak escalates.

The governors, all of whom are Republican, have offered a variety of explanations for why they have not followed the lead of their colleagues from coast-to-coast.

In doing so, they've collectively ignored the stay-at-home pleas of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, who said in a CNN interview: "If you look at what's going on in this country, I just don't understand why we're not doing that."

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