New Orleans mayor blasts large gatherings despite virus ban


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she was “deeply disappointed” that people ignored a ban on large gatherings issued by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

St. Patrick’s Day revelers in kilts and green shamrocks packed a city street on Saturday, though the city’s official parade had been cancelled, The Times-Picayune-New Orleans Advocate reports. New Orleans police later broke up a party at a bar. The gatherings occurred as Louisiana announced its first death from coronavirus — a 58-year-old Orleans Parish resident with underlying health problems.

“At the same time we were learning the sad news regarding the first fatality in our state, certain individuals were flouting the public health protocols and actively increasing the danger to their neighbors and their loved ones,” Cantrell said in a statement. “This is unacceptable.”

Edwards had banned gatherings of more than 250 people. He also postponed the state’s presidential primaries due to fears about the coronavirus.

State health officials said Saturday that Louisiana had 77 coronavirus cases, and Edwards warned that the state’s health system would be overwhelmed with a lower number of cases than would be required to have a similar impact in other states.

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