AM Newscall 02/27/2020

Health officials say it’s only a matter of time before a coronavirus outbreak hits the United States. Brooke Thorington spoke with an LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine Infectious Diseases expert about preparations that are underway.

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Congressman Ralph Abraham announces he will not seek re-election of his congressional seat. Brooke Thorington spoke with a poli sci professor on what this means for Northeast Louisiana.

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Legislation filed for the upcoming session could result in sports wagering have a spot on the statewide ballot in November. Kevin Barnhart has the story.

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The CDC warns it’s just a matter of when the coronavirus will reach the U-S and how many it will affect. As Congress debates over funding to combat the disease, LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine Chief of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Julio Figueroa, explains what the school is doing to prepare.

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Figueroa says research at this time shows that 80 percent of those diagnosed with the virus have mild symptoms, and 20 percent will require medical attention.

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Figueroa says when you compare the coronavirus to the common flu and worldwide mortality rates yes more people do die from the common flu but that could change.

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Figueroa says our culture of people going to work and school sick is something with this virus that people need to cease in order to stop transmission.


A new poll from YouGov asked over 8,000 people to name the hardest thing to give up for 40 days for Lent. Data journalist at YouGov Jamie Ballard says the number one answer is watching TV or streaming services as 29% of respondents say that would be the biggest challenge.

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Caffeine came in at number two with 19%, followed by social networking and chocolate, both with 11%. Ballard says when breaking down the responses by political affiliation, while all listed giving up TV as the hardest, it appears to be the most challenging for Democrats.

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Ballard says only one age group indicated that TV wasn’t going to be the hardest thing to give up.

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Also making the top answers were giving up soda at 7%, alcohol at 6%, and fast food at 5%.


Congressman Ralph Abraham announced Wednesday that he will not seek a fourth term in office, keeping a campaign promise of only serving three terms in office. The 5th Congressional district Republican’s decision comes months after his unsuccessful run for governor. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says the announcement is not a surprise.

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Stockley says Abraham, a physician by practice, has been always been a visible community figure in Northeast Louisiana and he doesn’t see that changing.

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As for Abraham’s replacement, Stockley says on the Republican ticket he expects to see a diverse field of candidates vying for the nomination.

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Republican Ouachita Parish Police Juror Scotty Robinson and Democrat Sandy “Candy” Christophe of Alexandria have expressed they will run for the district seat. While Abraham’s chief of staff Republican Luke Letlow is also expected to run.


Last year there was a significant effort to pass a sports wagering bill, and now Metairie Senator Cameron Henry is filing legislation this year for a statewide proposition election to determine whether sports wagering will be permitted in a particular parish.  If successful, it will appear on the November 3rd ballot.

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Henry says the voting would help lawmakers getting a better idea of what constituents want, ahead of future legislation concerning sports wagering.  Louisiana lawmakers have typically not been in favor of the expansion of gambling.

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Sports betting in a particular parish would only be permitted after the state laws concerning licensing, regulation, and taxation are enacted and become effective.  Henry says in the 2021 legislative session, bills could be filed to better smooth out all of the details of how sports wagering would work.

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