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Evacuees prepare to board a bus out of Lake Charles, La., before Laura hits. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The hazards posed by a hurricane are already worrying enough, but when one collides with a pandemic, disaster on both sides will likely follow.

What we're watching: This is a two-way street: The hurricane will increase the risk from the coronavirus, and the coronavirus will increase the risk from the hurricane.

  • Shelters will have to accommodate fewer people, if they're open at all. Louisiana officials have stockpiled masks and lined up buses to take people to other parts of the state, National Geographic reports,
  • But buses also have a limited capacity, and officials will likely have to deal with some residents who refuse to wear masks.

By the numbers: A recent study estimated that a large-scale hurricane evacuation could lead to somewhere between 6,000 and 60,000 new coronavirus cases.

On the flip side, social distancing — the risks of staying in a hotel, shelter or with family or friends — has made many people less likely to evacuate in a hurricane, according to CityLab.

  • Luckily, Texas' wave of infections earlier in the summer has ebbed, so hospitals along the state's coast are no longer at or near capacity as Laura makes landfall.
  • Some hospitals in the storm's path have already transferred their sickest patients — including coronavirus patients, to other facilities.

What they're saying: "It's crazy," Darrell Pile, the CEO of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, told NBC News. "You do get to a point where you're like, 'What else do you want to put on us?'"

Go deeper

Dec 4, 2020 - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Dec 4, 2020 - World

UN: "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. Photo: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP via Getty Images

Next year is "going to be catastrophic" in terms of worldwide humanitarian crises, World Food Program executive director David Beasley warned on Friday, per Reuters.

Driving the news: The stark outlook comes as many countries contend with not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also possible famine, economic instability, conflict and other humanitarian crises. A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a nearly 40% increase from 2020, the UN projected earlier this week

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