Louisiana appears set to face a double whammy of coronavirus outbreaks.
At the beginning of April, as many of its neighbors reported relatively low caseloads, New Orleans and the surrounding areas saw a spike including over 2,700 new cases on April 2 alone.
Now, Louisiana is seeing another surge, though smaller for now. The state reported 1,300 new cases on June 23, while looking at neighbors like Texas and Arkansas which are setting record highs daily.
As of June 25, the state had 52,477 cases in total. “That’s 52- or 53,000 cases too many, of course, but we are a state of 4.6 million people,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.
“I think once we opened the economy back up, it was predictable we would have additional cases,” he added.
Kennedy has long made the case that an economic reopening needs to be accomplished first and foremost. “It’s no longer a debate between safe or soon,” he said of balancing safety and the economy in a May 17 Fox interview. “The only thing that’s going to get us out of this is the American people and the American private sector.”
In his interview this week, Kennedy focused on taking precautions instead during a re-opening like wearing masks, social distancing, and protecting seniors. “Wash the hell out of your hands for God’s sake,” he said.
The caution came amid a reported spike in coronavirus infections in Texas (one of Louisiana’s neighbors) this week. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a “temporary pause” on its reopening process, but he said that “the last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses.”
Kennedy, echoing President Trump, also said many of the new cases emerging are the result of more testing. But unlike Trump, who recently said at a rally he told his people to slow down the testing, Kennedy said more testing is needed.
“That’s been demonstrated” as effective, he said, “not just in our country but others as well.”
Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.
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