John Bel Edwards Asks Unvaccinated Citizens if They Give a Damn

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In an emotional press conference on Tuesday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards implored citizens who had yet been inoculated against COVID-19 to get vaccinated. “Louisiana is in the throws of a very difficult surge of COVID-19. Our health care heroes are exhausted and their ability to deliver care is being stretched to the limit. Get vaccinated, wear a mask and help turn this around. The life you save may be your own,” Edwards said. 

A conservative Democrat, Edwards has had to walk a fine line since the pandemic began. On the one hand he wants to follow science. On the other hand, he has to work with the state’s conservative legislative and congressional delegation, who have mostly fought him every step of the way, even though a Republican state legislator died early during the pandemic. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry continues to interject his anti-vax sentiments into the narrative. Only recently have Republican leaders like Congressman Steve Scalise and Senator John Kennedy gotten aboard the pro-vaccination train.

Still, Edwards had done a good job of continuing to push the need for vaccinations and reinstating the mask mandate statewide – which will surely save thousands of Louisiana lives. Edwards has continually shown the strong leadership necessary to guide our state through this crisis. Though some rural and suburban parishes still have exceedingly low vaccination rates, many older, better-educated citizens in urban areas have heeded his warnings.

During his press conference, Edwards rhetorically asked non-vaccinated citizens what epidemiologists or data scientists they were getting information from that the vaccine was not necessary. “I’ve heard it said often that we are the most pro-life state in the nation. I want to believe that,” especially in this context, Edwards explained.

Edwards said Louisiana’s health care heroes are exhausted- physically, emotionally and mentally drained. “Let’s do our part to reduce the demand placed on them.” 

Louisiana is the first state in the nation to re-impose mandatory mask-wearing indoors. Los Angeles County, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. also recently reintroduced indoor mask requirements. New York City is instituting mandatory proof of vaccination for indoor seating at restaurants, shows, and gyms. Large employers, including Tyson Foods, are also putting vaccination mandates in place. 

Proof of vaccination is also required for entrance to Tipitina’s, Maple Street Bar and d.b.a. Other businesses are expected to join the movement in the coming days. Some short term rental operators are also talking about the need for vaccination cards from guests.

President Joseph Biden said today that getting a vaccination was about life or death. On Monday, Biden announced that the U.S. had reached its goal of getting 70% of all U.S. adults at least one dose of the vaccine. In a new Gallop poll published Monday, the percentage of Americans who believe the pandemic is improving has dropped. More Americans now feel the situation is getting worse rather than better.

In Louisiana, there were 4,725 new cases reported today including 2,112 people hospitalized, 222 patients on ventilators and 59 new deaths. The Delta variant is not expected to peak until late October. Without a stronger push for inoculations, thousands more Louisiana residents – especially younger people – will die.      

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