In a grim irony, there is a rising suspicion among medical experts that the crisis may have been accelerated by Mardi Gras, the weeks-long citywide celebration that unfolds in crowded living rooms, ballrooms and city streets, which this year culminated on Feb. 25.
It is the city’s trademark expression of joy — and an epidemiologist’s nightmare. “I think it all boils down to Mardi Gras,” said Dr. F. Brobson Lutz Jr., a former health director of New Orleans and a specialist in infectious disease. “The greatest free party in the world was a perfect incubator at the perfect time.”
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