NOPD disperses St. Patrick’s Day celebrations due to coronavirus, cracks down on large gatherings

Updated: Mar. 14, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Due to coronavirus concerns, the New Orleans Police Department disbanded a large crowd on Magazine Street.

This comes after Gov. John Bel Edwards’ banned gatherings of more than 250 people and the first report of a coronavirus-related death in Louisiana.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were scheduled to take place this weekend, however, they were canceled amid the quickly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the New Orleans area.

Leaders from the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club released a statement today regarding the incident on Saturday, March 14 clearing their organization’s affiliation with the events.

“We want to be 100% clear that these individuals have gathered at their own decision and with no affiliation with our organization,” the organization said in the statement.

The St. Patrick’s Day block party scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 at Annunciation Playground also remains canceled.

Long-time resident and LSU Infectious diseases doctor Fred Lopez says it needs to be different for a while.

“We’ve not seen something like this around here much less and many other places across the world and, as a result, we need to heed the advice of our officials particular medical expert to recommending we decrease the number of people who are gathering together,” Lopez said.

Lopez says Louisiana’s first death in Orleans Parish should be a warning to the severity of COVID-19.

“We’ve seen some of the mortality rate statistics already and they’re anywhere from 1% to 3.4%. The latter according to the world health organization. So, we know it’s a mortality rate that’s higher than the flu which is around .1 percent, so this is a potentially very serious infection,” Lopez said.

Police patrolled for several hours before breaking up the crowds along Constance.

Lopez says it was the right call.

“Gatherings like this only are going to increase the risk of transmission amongst people,” Lopez said.

The City of New Orleans is urging people to comply with the ban on large gatherings in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“Our NOPD will strictly enforce this ban. The NOPD is urging citizens to have consideration for the health of one another,” The City of New Orleans tweeted out.

After today’s events, Mayor Latoya Cantrell reiterated her disappointment in the large crowds.

“I was deeply disappointed this afternoon by the individuals who chose to ignore the sober warnings of our public health officials and the proclamation issued by the Governor,” Cantrell said.

She stated that NOPD will be strictly enforcing the ban gathering, including the infamous Super Sunday event that takes place.

The Super Sunday groups, such as the Indian groups and the Social Aid and Please Clubs, confirmed they will not be proceeding with the event, according to Cantrell.

RELATED: LA. Dept. of Health reports 77 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19


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