Democrat Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that he had not been told in advance to cancel Mardi Gras festivities at the end of February, even though governors were briefed about the issue weeks earlier.
“There was not a single suggestion by anyone – a doctor, a scientist, a political figure – that we needed to cancel Mardi Gras,” John Bel Edwards told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union Sunday morning.
“Rather than look back, I am focused on today and going forward,” Edwards continued.
Edwards said Sunday that he and other U.S. governors met with high-ranking U.S. health officials in February to discuss the coronavirus threat, but they said nothing that would have prompted him to cancel Mardi Gras weeks later.
“We had a briefing from them. We generally spoke about the novel coronavirus,” Edwards told Tapper, adding that the knowledge he received about the disease was limited at the time when he first learned about it at the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, DC.
Louisiana researchers had already begun to see a link between coronavirus spread and the state’s Mardi Gras celebration because they noted an increase of infection by early-to-mid-March — two to three weeks after the Fat Tuesday celebration took place.
Louisiana is the fourth deadliest state in the U.S. in terms of coronavirus deaths, with the coronavirus death toll in the state at 547 as of Monday afternoon.