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Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), whose husband, Luke, died of COVID-19 in December, made an emotional, urgent plea on "CBS This Morning" for more Louisiana residents to get the coronavirus vaccine as the state faces a surge in new cases.

Driving the news: "He and I had prayed for weeks prior about the possibility of the vaccine and we were so excited that it was coming out and that it was going to be widely available," Letlow said in an interview that aired Wednesday. "And he missed it by two weeks."

  • Republican Luke Letlow was elected to Congress in a Dec. 5 runoff election. He died from COVID-19 complications on Dec. 29, just days before he was set to be sworn in.
  • Julia Letlow won a special election on March 20 to replace her late husband.

What she's saying: Letlow, whose state of Louisiana is experiencing an uptick of COVID-19 cases and has low levels of vaccinations, is using her husband's story to encourage residents to get the vaccine.

  • "It all happened very quickly. He was very aware and cognizant and speaking to people and then he kind of crossed over a threshold, where I started to see the color drain. And that's when it hit me that he might not come home," Letlow told CBS.
  • "I would've given anything, I would've given everything for that shot to be available for us. Looking back now, and for someone to turn it away, it's heartbreaking to me," she said.

The big picture: Louisiana recorded 2,112 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday, breaking the previous record of 2,069 set on Jan. 7, according to WAFB.

  • The Louisiana Department of Health also reported 4,725 new cases and 59 new deaths.
  • About 37% of the eligible population in Louisiana has been vaccinated, per Our World in Data.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

GE to mandate COVID vaccinations for U.S. workers

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

General Electric will require all of its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing President Biden's executive order for federal contractors, the company confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: General Electric is the latest in a slew of major companies to mandate the vaccine for workers, following in the footsteps of American Airlines, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, among others.

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Virginia governor has had long COVID for more than a year

Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam still has long COVID-19 symptoms more than a year after his initial infection, he said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor is one of millions of Americans suffering from symptoms of long COVID, which could have serious implications for employers and social programs if enough people can no longer work because of it, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.