Skip to:

"A virus stalks a county with one of the highest death rates in US: 'People are dropping like flies'"

The Guardian interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the links between air pollution and disease.

Share: 
Date: 
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

“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.”