| Monroe News-Star
COVID-19 statistics: Startling numbers about coronavirus in the US
The U.S. has now lost over 300,000 people to COVID-19. Here are some other startling statistics from December, 2020.
Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died Tuesday at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport from complications of COVID-19.
Letlow, 41, was transferred from St. Francis Medical Center to the Ochsner LSU Health ICU on Dec. 23 and has been treated there since then.
Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two young children — Jeremiah, 3, and Jacqueline, 11 months.
«The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,» spokesman Andrew Bautsch said in a statement. «A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.»
Letlow, R-Start, announced Dec. 18 he tested positive for COVID-19 and was first quarantining at his Richland Parish home.
But on Dec. 19, he was admitted to St. Francis as symptoms persisted and eventually he was transferred to Shreveport.
LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor G.E. Ghali said Letlow died from a heart attack following a procedure related to the infection.
«It’s devastating to our entire team,» Ghali said.
«He had no underlying conditions,» Ghali said. «It was just COVID.»
Gov. John Bel Edwards mourned Letlow’s death.
«COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon,» Edwards said. «I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family.
«I hope all of the people of Louisiana will join Donna and me in praying for Congressman-elect Letlow’s family, especially his wife Julia and their two children, his many friends and the people of the 5th Congressional District. Louisiana has lost more than 7,300 people to COVID-19 since March, and each one of them leaves a tremendous hole in our state.”
Louisiana’s congressional delegation also expressed condolences.
«Luke will be missed dearly across Louisiana, and we all mourn his passing,» Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said.
Letlow’s friend Scott Franklin of Rayville said he was «devastated» by Letlow’s death.
«I loved him and looked forward to us raising our little boys together,» Franklin said. «There will never be another Luke Letlow.»
Letlow won the 5th Congressional District seat with 62% of the vote Dec. 5 in a runoff election against fellow Republican state Rep. Lance Harris of Alexandria.
He would have succeeded his former boss Congressman Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, who didn’t seek reelection after honoring a pledge to serve a limit of three terms.
Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff.
Louisiana’s 5th District is the largest geographically in the state covering 24 parishes. Alexandria and Monroe are the population hubs, but the boundaries dip into Acadiana to take in Opelousas and into the Florida parishes to take in Bogalusa.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.