Louisiana ‘probably would’ve taken different action’ with Mardi Gras if officials had known more about coronavirus, Lt. Gov. says

A Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans in February 2020.
A Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans in February 2020.(Rusty Costanza/AP)

Louisiana officials “probably would’ve taken different action” regarding Mardi Gras had they received more information about the potential spread of coronavirus at the time, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said.
Mardi Gras celebrations began in New Orleans in late February and garnered more than a million revelers. Health experts have contended the Mardi Gras parties could have played a part in the spread of the virus in the state.
“Had we had knowledge of what was to come, we would’ve taken a different look at it,” Nungesser told CNN.
“It’s hard to look back now and say we should’ve canceled Mardi Gras, but with 840 deaths in the last 30 days here in Louisiana, surely some of those people probably wouldn’t have been infected had we took action sooner.”
There have been more than 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. Nungesser said officials were only aware of one infection at the time of Mardi Gras
When pressed about whether he was angry about the lack of information provided by the federal government about the possibility of a COVID-19 spread, Nungesser reiterated that they likely would’ve handled things differently if they’d known more.

"In hindsight, had we know, we probably would’ve taken different action,” he said.

Nungesser noted that tourism is a significant industry in his state, but said, “We surely have to put the lives of citizens first.”

Last month, Nungesser was critical of New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s decision to cancel events in her city in response to coronavirus.

Nungesser told CNN that he has since apologized to her, and explained that he was concerned at the time about the message the cancellations would send to several conferences that had still planned to come to New Orleans.

“I was wrong, and the mayor was right,” Nungesser said, before adding he wasn’t aware of what would come in terms of coronavirus spread in the following weeks.

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