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The Guardian interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the links between air pollution and disease.
“People were dropping like flies,” said Dr Christy Montegut, his voice slowed by exhaustion.
Dr Montegut, the coroner in St John the Baptist parish, recited a scene of devastation similar to the ones seen by coroners in major metropolitan areas of the United States overwhelmed with Covid-19 deaths. But St John the Baptist, a small jurisdiction of 43,000 people in southern Louisiana, is no sprawling metropolis. Here, in this sparsely populated parish 30 miles from New Orleans, the Covid-19 death rate is the highest of any county in America with a population of over 5,000 people.
“We were getting calls almost every hour. The body count was just … amazing. …They all died in the same way. They got to a hospital, were on a ventilator, but the body just couldn’t keep going. They died in spite of full treatment. The virus is overwhelming.”