HJNO Jul/Aug 2020

38 JUL / AUG 2020 I  HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF NEW ORLEANS COLUMN LDH CORNER DATA-DRIVEN PANDEMIC RESPONSE SAVED LIVES, HIGHLIGHTED INEQUITIES The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed how we view public health and the healthcare structure in Louisiana. The systems in place—however under-resourced they may have been following years of austerity and uncertainty—performed well in three distinct areas: the prompt identification of the scope of the outbreak, the clear and concise public communication of our rapidly-growing outbreak, and the development and implementation of timely and effective mitigation strategies. This is testament to the diligence of public servants within the Louisiana Department of Health, the contributions of partners in academia and the private sector, and clear-eyed leadership from elected officials, particularly Governor John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, and Orleans Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. The early decisions made by our elected leaders were not easy, but time has proven them correct.