Newly elected congressman from Louisiana died of COVID-19 after months of mask-free campaigning

The congressman-elect announced he had examined optimistic for COVID-19 two weeks after his win in a runoff election on Dec.18. In his analysis announcement, he famous that he could be “at house resting, following all CDC tips, quarantine protocols, and the suggestions of my docs.” Inside a day of the announcement, his situation worsened and he was hospitalized. Whereas a consultant for Letlow posted on Twitter that he was in “secure situation” on Dec. 23, 4 days later Letlow had handed. Letlow’s demise got here days earlier than being sworn in as a U.S. Consultant for Louisiana’s fifth Congressional District, a place that may have made him the state’s youngest congressman.

“The household appreciates the quite a few prayers and assist over the previous days however asks for privateness throughout this tough and sudden time,” spokesman Andrew Bautsch mentioned in a statement posted to Facebook. “A press release from the household together with funeral preparations will probably be introduced at a later time.”

However whereas Letlow acknowledged that he could be following healthcare tips after testing optimistic for the virus, all through his marketing campaign over the previous couple of months, Letlow posted a number of maskless images of himself with dozens of others at marketing campaign and group occasions. Not solely have been these images maskless, in addition they depicted his failure to comply with social distancing tips, guidelines Letlow himself urged state residents to comply with.

Whereas some images shared on his social media of his marketing campaign did depict Letlow wearing a mask, nearly all of them depicted him at indoor gatherings without one, an inconsistency many Republicans have repeated all through this lethal pandemic. Whereas campaigning, many Republican candidates have chosen to each put on and take off masks relying on who they’re addressing. This inconsistency shouldn’t be solely unsafe and irresponsible, however downplays the severity of a lethal virus.

Moreover, Letlow pushed for states to “reopen the economy” and argued in opposition to laws in place for the pandemic regardless of the rising variety of instances. “We’re now at a spot if we don’t open our economic system, we’re in actual hazard,” Letlow said at a candidate discussion board in October.

Whereas his demise is unlucky, it follows a sample of GOP officers who as soon as ignored security precautions put in place to cease the unfold of the virus solely to be severely impacted by it. In accordance with PBS News, because the begin of the pandemic, a variety of Louisiana officers have contracted the coronavirus together with Sen. Invoice Cassidy, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Lawyer Common Jeff Landry, Treasurer John Schroder, Rep. Mike Johnson, and Rep. Cedric Richmond.

“It simply, simply, simply, simply brings house COVID can kill. For most folk it doesn’t, but it surely actually can. So, as you bear in mind Luke, his widow, his youngsters in your prayers, bear in mind as effectively to watch out with COVID,” Cassidy mentioned in a video posted to Twitter.

In accordance with information compiled by Johns Hopkins University, greater than 304,000 folks have examined optimistic for COVID-19 in Louisiana. Letlow is certainly one of over 7,300 individuals who have died because of COVID-19 within the state since March.

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