Category: Health and Wellness

Category: Health and Wellness

Hurricane Recovery in the Time of COVID-19

I’m taking a break from my series on COVID-19 data to talk about something more pressing – our state’s recovery from Hurricane Laura.

If, like me, you’ve spent many years in Louisiana, you’ve dealt with a lot of hurricanes that caused a lot of damage and destruction. I have memories of my childhood home in Morgan City being pummeled so hard by Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (I was a preschooler!) that water was blowing through the bricks and into the sheetrock. The walls of our brand-new house were flexing, like the house was “breathing,” and a telephone pole dropped right onto our roof. Terrifying. Let’s just say my family never stayed for any other hurricane after that one.

I still remember the blank looks and terrified children among the 23 people, most of whom I’d never met, who sheltered with me and my family in 2005, post-Katrina. Some of them stayed with us for a year, even putting their kids into schools in our district, where my kids went. We had 23 humans, 10 dogs and a bird! What an adventure that was. Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

Tracking Louisiana’s Progress, Part 2: Deaths from COVID-19

I’m not usually one to dive into topics that are just horribly grim, but everything I’m going to tell you next is important to how we are forecasting and tracking COVID-19, and, in my personal opinion, needs to be said.

As I write this (week of Aug. 20), COVID-19 is killing around 30 of our family, friends and neighbors in Louisiana every day. Nearly 4,500 Louisianians have died since we started tracking COVID-19 deaths in February. In fact, nationwide, COVID-19 is now the THIRD-leading cause of death in the United States, behind only cancer and heart disease. That means COVID-19 is now killing more people than accidents, injuries, strokes, lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many, many other causes. We have to take this virus very seriously, especially the trends of Louisianians dying from it. Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

Tracking Louisiana’s Progress Against COVID-19, Part 1: Inpatient Hospital Stats

In the data world, we always have options. Sometimes, way too many options.

As COVID-19 took hold here in March, and we began to see just how serious it was going to be, it became clear that finding strong, reliable data that was EASY TO COMMUNICATE to everyone was going to be a challenge.

After watching some data sources and results get shot down by naysayers, and knowing how important it was going to be to our economic success that the data I presented here via Straight Talk was reliable AND believable, I settled on three main areas of data that I want to track and communicate to you all. I believe these points are strong indicators of how close we are getting to Phase 3. In this post, we will tackle the first one: How many people are COVID-positive and in the hospital? Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

To Vaccinate? Or Not to Vaccinate? It’s a Big Deal.

These things always seem to start simply enough. I was driving to Shreveport one frosty November morning about five years ago to give a speech and spend a couple of days educating folks on health insurance compliance. Just north of Alexandria, I stopped at my favorite barbecue place for lunch. As I was getting out of the car, my back brushed the seat, and I got a pain in my side –a really strong, kind of burning pain. Very unpleasant!

“Getting old is just DELIGHTFUL!” I remember thinking to myself.

Over the next few days, the burning sensation got more painful and started to spread across the middle of my back and around my sides toward my chest. I kept looking in the mirror, expecting to see something, but there was nothing. By the time I got home, it hurt a LOT! What the heck was going on? Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

What Does Success Against COVID-19 Look Like?

I love to travel. As I’ve gotten older, I’m getting more and more interested in how people in other countries live today and how they cope with life, and I’m less concerned with seeing their old buildings and monuments. It’s the people and their cultures that are starting to get my attention when I go someplace new.

In the era of COVID-19 we are in now, I haven’t done ANY traveling. I don’t think I’ve been more than 30 miles from my house since March 5, when I was in New Orleans at a conference. I’m lying low. But, I am reading a lot about other countries, other lands and other ways of doing things, especially countries that were just as devastated by the first outbreaks of COVID-19 back in March and April as we were here in the U.S. Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

The Time for Skepticism is Over. COVID-19 Is a Real Threat.

I get it, I really do.

Science, as the media reports it, which affects what we hear, see and read, can be inconsistent. Just in my lifetime, the simple hen’s egg has gone from being considered an important part of everyone’s diet, to being considered really, really bad for your diet, then to not so bad and now, back to being considered an important, healthy source of protein again. It’s like “science” can’t make up its mind. So, I get it. It’s confusing to know which reports are “correct.” Read more