Louisiana Governor Defends Not Canceling Mardi Gras Celebrations in Early Days of Coronavirus Outbreak

In recent days, Louisiana has become a hotspot for the coronavirus, and public officials have come under scrutiny for not implementing stricter restrictions on daily life sooner.

During an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D), host Margaret Brennan asked if he regrets not canceling the state’s Mardi Gras celebration.

She noted that the first case of coronavirus in the state was discovered about 13 days after the celebration, which occurred at the end of February. 

“Margaret, look back to where we were at that time. I think there were 15 cases in the country, all of which had been linked to foreign travel,” Edwards said.

He continued, “There was not one person at the state or its federal government, not at the CDC or otherwise, who recommended canceling any event. Not just Mardi Gras, but I don’t think anywhere across the country.”

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“We’ll know what role Mardi Gras played in seeding this virus later, but right now, that’s not our focus. We can’t do anything about what happened or didn’t happen yesterday,” Edwards added.

Edwards is not the only public official who encouraged Americans to carry on with their day to day lives. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) encouraged New Yorkers to “be going about your life” as late as March 11. Additionally, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) suggested Americans go out to restaurants to support small businesses

On Sunday, the number of confirmed cases in Louisiana climbed above 3,500. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are 125,313 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States.