You've heard the term "herd immunity" mentioned a lot with the coronavirus pandemic. By the way, herd immunity happens when enough people become immune to a disease to make its spread unlikely. That's one of the hopes we have in solving the COVID-19 pandemic, but right now it's a distant hope at best.

The latest stats from the Louisiana Department of Health suggest that nearly 78,000 of our state's residents have been infected with the coronavirus. That translates to roughly 2% of the state's population. To achieve "herd immunity" that number will have to be higher. A lot higher.

Herd immunity can only be achieved when upwards of 80 to 90-percent of people in a community, and we actually don’t know with this virus what that number would be, have recovered

Those are the words of Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region 4 Public Health Director, as reported by the Louisiana Radio Network.

Dr. Stefanski says the evidence suggests that Louisiana's best opportunity to beat back the virus is through the use of face coverings, that is if we want the state to remain open for business.

Governor Edwards issued a statewide face mask mandate Saturday that will go into effect today. It's hoped that more people wearing more face coverings will slow the surge in cases of COVID-19 the state has experienced since moving out of Phase 1.

In Sunday's COVID-19 briefing it was noted that 36% of the cases reported in the state were in individuals aged 29 and younger. That demographic appears to be leading the surge in new cases across the state.

There is also evidence that those younger individuals are spreading the virus to older at-risk residents. Health officials fear the spread into the at-risk community could lead to even more hospitalizations and deaths.