Coronavirus has directly impacted all of us. I don't think there's a single person I know that hasn't been directly affected in some way, shape or form. We may not all personally know someone that has caught it, but we've all had to change our way of life because of it. And the more information that is released about the virus, the better we understand it.

Yesterday, the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office provided an update on deaths in our area. The overall message was a positive one as the coroner's office reports that deaths from COVID-19 are slowing down in our area. The release stated that " in the last week, there were no deaths reported on three separate days", which is a HUGE step in the right direction. According to LDH, hospitalizations and ventilator use is also on the decline.

However, one stat in the report that really stood out to me was the average age of death. According to the coroner, the average age of death increased to 82. I did a little bit of research and discovered that the average age of death in Louisiana is 75.6 (one of the worst in the nation). In the WAFB report published last year, doctors stated that the Louisiana lifestyle is one of the biggest contributors to folks dying at a younger age than in other states. Willis-Knighton Heart Institute Doctor Sai Konduru said in the interview that a "sedentary lifestyle is a big deal in this day and age. And I think that starts this vicious cycle of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes and then cardiovascular disease."

From reading about COVID deaths, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease seem to the be some of the biggest factors into how much a person is affected by coronavirus. According to the Caddo Coroner, 'all but a handful' of the 213 local deaths had or were suspected of having serious pre-existing health conditions.

While it is sad when anyone passes away, under any circumstances, I look at this information and can't help but be a bit optimistic. If medically speaking, we are one of the unhealthiest states in the US and we have all the issues that directly impact the COVID survival rate, but deaths are slowing down and decreasing month over month, that means we're doing something right. Whether it be the social distancing measures that are in place or the treatments being administered by local physicians are working, it's a positive sign.

Much like everyone else, I'd love for the COVID death number to be 0. I'd like the new cases of COVID to be non-existent. However, in the grand scheme of things, we're figuring things out and moving in the right direction. And as frustrating and sad and devastating as the past few months have been, I think we may finally be starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You can read the full statement from the Caddo Coroner's Office below:

Caddo Parish's COVID-19 death tally reached 219 Monday, June 15, 2020, up six from the 213 deaths reported as of June 8. The first Caddo Parish coronavirus death occurred March 24. In the last week, there were no deaths reported on three separate days.

The average age of decedents increased to 82, with the youngest age 22, the oldest 102, with 131 of the decedents age 70 or older. There have been 88 black male deaths, 64 black female deaths, 33 white females and 34 white males.

The peak in daily COVID-19 deaths in Caddo Parish occurred April 11 when nine people died with positive virus tests. There were 10 COVID-19 deaths here in March, 111 in April, 81 in May and 17 reported so far in June.

All but a handful of the deaths were of people with known or suspected pre-existing serious health conditions.

The Caddo Parish Coroner's office extends condolences to the families of the deceased and medical professionals affected by the pandemic.