BATON ROUGE, LA. — The death of Louisiana’s incoming Republican member of the U.S. House from issues associated to COVID-19 shocked the state’s political circles Wednesday and have become the most recent brutal reminder of how harmful the coronavirus may be.
Luke Letlow, who was solely 41 and had no recognized underlying well being circumstances, died Tuesday night time at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport — days earlier than he was scheduled to be sworn into workplace, in line with his spokesman Andrew Bautsch. Bautsch requested for privateness for Letlow’s household “during this difficult and unexpected time.”
Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a health care provider who examined constructive for the coronavirus earlier this 12 months and has since recovered, appeared virtually perplexed in a Twitter video he posted Tuesday night time about Letlow’s loss of life, stopping at one level earlier than saying: “It just, just, just, just brings home COVID can kill. For most folks it doesn’t, but it truly can. So, as you remember Luke, his widow, his children in your prayers, remember as well to be careful with COVID.”
Only weeks after Letlow was elected, state officers Wednesday started discussing logistics for a particular election to fill the seat once more.
Louisiana’s eight-member congressional delegation known as Letlow’s loss of life devastating. As condolences poured in, many officers expressed shock and centered on the pandemic’s lethal toll.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened her weekly information convention Wednesday on Capitol Hill by extending “great sympathy” to the congressman-elect’s household and pushing for higher efforts to finish the pandemic. The Democratic chief stated Letlow’s COVID-related loss of life may “happen to anyone — and it has happened to nearly 350,000 Americans.”
“Many of those deaths could have been avoided,” she stated. Pelosi added: “We must make sure that we are scientific and determined to crush the virus.”
Luke Letlow on July 22, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. (Melinda Deslatte/AP)
Louisiana state House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, a Republican, issued an announcement mourning Letlow’s loss of life and saying: “This pandemic is real and it’s taken too many of our loved ones. Too many husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to name a March particular election to fill the congressional seat, in line with his spokeswoman, Christina Stephens.
Letlow was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after testing constructive for the coronavirus. He was later transferred to the Shreveport facility and positioned in intensive care.
Dr. G.E. Ghali, of LSU Health Shreveport, advised The Advocate that Letlow didn’t have any underlying well being circumstances that may have positioned him at higher threat of growing issues from COVID-19.
The congressman-elect had been inconsistent in his precautions towards the coronavirus, although he acknowledged the severity of COVID-19 and stated in a debate that he personally knew individuals who had died from the illness.
Photos posted on social media from marketing campaign occasions present Letlow generally carrying a masks when interacting with potential voters, however different occasions — together with at his victory celebration — and not using a face overlaying as he posed for photos with supporters.
Hailing from the small city of Start in Richland Parish, Letlow was elected in a December runoff election for the sprawling fifth District U.S. House seat representing central and northeastern areas of the state, together with the cities of Monroe and Alexandria. He would have been sworn in subsequent week.
Letlow was going to fill the seat being vacated by his boss,