Some horrible news has hit the wires early Saturday morning. Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin (R) has passed away from complications due to COVID-19.
The senator’s office confirmed to local news WTVR Richmond that Senator Chafin passed away on Friday night.
“The family of Senator Chafin thank the VCU Medical Center in Richmond for its vigorous care and heartfelt support during his two weeks of medical services there,” his office said in a statement.
Senator Chafin was 60 years old and represented the 38th district for the last six years.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) released a statement following Senator Chafin’s passing:
“With the passing of Senator Ben Chafin, Southwest Virginia has lost a strong advocate—and we have all lost a good man.”
“I knew Ben as a lawmaker, an attorney, a banker, and a farmer raising beef cattle in Moccasin Valley, working the land just as generations of his family had done before him. He loved the outdoors, and he loved serving people even more. He pushed hard to bring jobs and investment to his district, and I will always be grateful for his courageous vote to expand health care for people who need it.”
The Roanoke Times reported that the senator contracted the virus in mid-December when he was hospitalized at VCU Medical Center in downtown Richmond.
Other Virginia lawmakers have contracted the deadly virus throughout the pandemic, but Senator Chafin has been the first to die from complications.
Last week, Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R) died of COVID-19 complications.
“It’s devastating to our entire team,” Louisiana State University Health Shreveport Chancellor G.E. Ghali told The New Star, adding that Letlow “had no underlying conditions.”
The US closed out December with the deadliest and most infectious month since the beginning of the pandemic.
Vaccination distribution in the US is taking much longer than expected. Goldman Sachs’ research team shows the percentage of population vaccinated for the US and several other countries.
Entering the new year, the fear is that a mutated coronavirus is spreading across the US. This also comes as the economy continues to wane.