Week in Review, Feb. 28: Coronavirus Concerns, Mardi Gras Safety … and Nutria in the Crosshairs
NEW ORLEANS – The biggest story of the week is the coronavirus that has killed almost 3,000 people and caused economic turmoil worldwide.
U.S. Markets are headed for what could be their worst decline since the 2008 financial crisis because of “panic selling” over concerns about the virus outbreak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on pace to lose more than 13 percent of its value in one week, which will rank as one of the top-five worst skids in its history. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control is telling American businesses to prepare for trouble. Earlier this week, health officials warned that businesses may face closures if the virus becomes widespread in the U.S.
From BuzzFeed: “As of Tuesday, there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases worldwide of the COVID-19 illness — marked by fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia — with the great majority in China. However, outbreaks in Iran, Italy, and South Korea in the last week have sparked concerns about a global pandemic of the respiratory virus, for which there is no native immunity and no current vaccine.”
The reports of a California man who has tested positive for the disease has caused concern about how he was exposed to it and who has been in contact with him.
Locally, the Port NOLA reported that two containers ships from China have cancelled their planned deliveries to New Orleans “due to weakened exports from China as a result of reduced manufacturing output because of the coronavirus impact.” The port and passenger cruise lines are also taking measures to screen passengers who are boarding vessels in the city.
Mardi Gras Hangover
Meanwhile, in unrelated news, the 2020 Carnival season ended on Tuesday on a high note after more than a million people costumed, partied and reveled at parades and parties citywide. Despite all the bon temps, this year’s event was marred by two separate but eerily similar tragedies: Geraldine Carmouche was killed on Feb. 18 during the Nyx parade when she fell beneath a tandem float and was crushed. Three days later, Joseph Sampson died in the same way during the Endymion parade. City leaders met this week to plan measures to help prevent future tragedies.
Nutria in the Crosshairs
Lastly, the outlook this week is a little more bleak for the 20 million invasive swamp rats (better known as “nutria“) living in Louisiana after the U.S. House passed a measure to make $12 million available annually to fund efforts to “drive down” their population in U.S. states. Currently, nutria outnumber people in Louisiana by more than a 3-to-1 ratio. …