Louisiana has officially surpassed 18,000 COVID-19 deaths since the state recorded its first COVID-19 death on March 14, 2020. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 18,009 people have died in its Friday COVID-19 data update.
COVID-19, which has claimed more than one million American lives since the start of the pandemic, was the leading cause of death in the United States in 2020 and 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Louisiana, COVID-19 has been the third-leading cause of death since 2020, behind only heart disease and cancer.
"Today we mark a tragic and sobering milestone in Louisiana as we recognize the more than 18,000 loved ones from every corner of this state who are no longer with us because of COVID-19. My prayers today and every day are with the grieving families and communities forever altered by this pandemic,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “We have come a long way in combating this virus, and I remain hopeful that we will see fewer deaths in the months and years to come. While we continue to come down from our sixth and longest surge to date, the reality is that this virus is still very much with us. Staying up to date on our vaccines, including taking the new bivalent COVID-19 booster when you are eligible, is the best way to stay safe, protect the progress we have made and ensure there are brighter days ahead.”
"The amount of loss due to this virus is truly staggering. We remember the 18,000 Louisianans who have died because of COVID-19, and who, along with their loved ones, have paid the ultimate price. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and continue to do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, with more testing, vaccines and treatments than ever before," said LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips. "As the fall and winter seasons approach, it is important to take precautions to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe and healthy. This year – as we prepare for a potentially active flu season – that means getting both the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster and the flu shot.”
"The magnitude of loss due to a virus that has only been with us for 30 months is difficult and painful to grasp, but it is what focuses and drives our continued efforts to preserve human life," said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. "We have made critical progress in the fight against COVID-19 and are on the right track. Case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths are on the decline. Though we have come far, it is likely new variants will continue to emerge, and there may be a fall or winter surge. The good news is that we know how to protect ourselves and communities – getting vaccinated and boosted, testing when exposed or sick, connecting people who are infected and at higher risk for severe disease with evidence-based treatments like Paxlovid, and utilizing prophylactic treatments like Evusheld in those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.”
Nearly 2.5 million people in Louisiana have completed their primary vaccine series against COVID-19.
Updated COVID-19 booster shots now available across Louisiana are formulated to offer continued protection against the original strain of the virus, while also offering better protection against the two lineages of the Omicron variant, BA.4 and BA.5, which represent over 90% of currently circulating virus.
CDC and LDH recommend that everyone ages 6 months and up get vaccinated against COVID-19 and that everyone ages 5 and up get a booster as soon as they are eligible.
CDC and LDH recommend everyone 6 months of age and older get their flu shot.
Residents looking for a flu or COVID-19 vaccine near them can go to vaccines.gov to find a convenient location.