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A look at how COVID-19 impacted Shreveport-Bossier and where we stand now

Local

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, La (KTAL/KMSS) – According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 26% of Shreveport residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and Bossier City reports 23% of its population is vaccinated.

Bossier City made masks optional while Shreveport continues its mask mandate for government buildings. As restrictions differ, both mayors share a similar message and outlook for the year ahead.

As of May 12, COVID-19 lead to the deaths of 10,451 people in Louisiana. 742 deaths in Shreveport and 300 in Bossier City.

“COVID-19 devastated our city in so many ways. Our front-line health care workers are truly heroes. They did not have the luxury to stay home during this pandemic. They went out each and every day to fight back against this virus. Keeping our citizens as safe as possible and saving lives,” Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said.

Local businesses and city governments continue to deal with the economic fallout.

“Financially we took a hard-hit in sales taxes. I think we will see businesses come back quickly, but unfortunately, the smaller businesses may not have the wear-with-all to return,” said Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.

“We learned about the disparities that exists in our community between the larger and smaller businesses,” Perkins said.

Relief money from the federal government is helping, along with micro-grants and loans, and businesses have adapted their operations. Both mayors say the only path forward is through vaccinations.

“It’s still a very serious problem. The variants are causing the whole world a problem. But I think we’re beginning to see that light at the end of the tunnel,” Walker said.

“That light at the end of the tunnel is because the vaccines have rolled out. We’re starting to see great metrics within the city that we are coming out of this thing and we’re going to be stronger than ever,” Perkins said.

Mayor Walker said Bossier’s focus on disaster preparedness helped the city navigate through the pandemic faster than other communities, and fortunately, its aging, vulnerable population is much safer now. Mayor Perkins is dubbing 2021 as a year of revitalization while acknowledging what we’ve learned.

“We’re a very resilient city. What we went through over the last year is not normal at all. Everybody had to make sacrifices in their own individual way. From large to small. And we got through it. We’ve essentially lost a year. People feel like they’ve lost a year of their lives. So we have to make sure that when we have wins. We celebrate them. That we really take advantage of the positive times and put things in perspective,” Perkins said.

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