(KLFY) Louisiana is set to become an epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in part because of Mardi Gras, according to Dr. Rebekah Gee, CEO of the states flagship university health system.

“In New Orleans alone, there were 1.4 million visitors who came to the city for Mardi Gras and at that time we didn’t know the virus was circulating.”

In an interview with CBS News David Begnaud, Gee talks about how the New Orleans region remains the virus epicenter in Louisiana, and warned of forthcoming problems with a surge in coronavirus cases as testing capacity grows statewide and across the country.

“Mardi Gras is a time when we have a lot of festivals, a lot of togetherness–people on floats throwing beads that people catch that could have caught the virus just from the beads,” Gee said.

“This was really the perfect storm, the perfect condition for the virus to spread and of course people came from all over the country to the New Orleans area and then traveled to other parts of the country after the fact.”

Masks are being made w/ 3D printers & sewn by a New Orleans furniture store