The number of corona-virus cases worldwide recently topped 500,000, and it’s expected to keep climbing. 

In the U.S., where there are over 100,000 confirmed cases, certain regions are being hit significantly harder than others. And the growing number of cases is worrying many public health experts, including NYU Langone Health Assistant Professor Alison Bateman-House. 

“I’m deeply concerned about where we see spikes happening right now,” Bateman-House said. “The latest I’ve seen is we anticipate spikes in Boston, which has a relatively good health care system, Detroit, [and] New Orleans. These are places that have already been hit hard for numerous reasons over the last decade or so, and now to have a public health epidemic on top of everything. I’m deeply concerned.”

Detroit, devastated by the 2008 Financial Crisis, declared bankruptcy in 2013. New Orleans, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, accounts for nearly half of all corona-virus cases in Louisiana. Some attribute it to Mardi Gras celebrations that occurred at the beginning of March.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that officials in the city were likely caught by surprise until the number of cases kept growing. 

“It putters along and you think you’re OK, then it starts to go up a little and then bingo — it goes up in an exponential way,” Fauci told CNN. “That’s what’s happening in New Orleans right now.” 

Other public health experts were also sounding the alarm on the spread to other U.S. cities.

“Corona-virus is going to hit every city in America,” Harvard Global Health Institute Director Dr. Ashish Jha said. “There is no question about it. New York is going first. Will [the spread] be at the same ferocity? It may or may not in different cities. … I am incredibly worried about Louisiana, and specifically New Orleans. I am very worried about Atlanta.”

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