Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — The county’s public health director pointed to the COVID-related death Oct. 18 of Colin Powell, the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a reason to get vaccinated, continue wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID, but had long battled cancer, which dramatically compromised his immune system. Ferrer said.
“We join the nation in mourning the death of former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, who has died of COVID complications at the age of 84,” health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “While our data demonstrate the tremendous power of vaccines to prevent severe outcomes of COVID infection, this tragic loss highlights the fact that for vulnerable people, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions including immunosuppression, there is still a small but serious risk of hospitalization or death even after vaccination.
“This is why masking and distancing remain important layers of protection when transmission of COVID remains high or substantial, and increasing vaccination rates is the best strategy for reducing exposure risk for everyone.”
The family of Powell said on social media posts that Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said.
Former President George W. Bush said he and former First Lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein offered her condolences to Alma Powell, Colin Powell’s widow, and the Powell family, saying, “He was truly a great statesman and a man of deep integrity,” in a statement issued by her office.
“His life gave inspiration to millions,” Feinstein said. “Rising from humble roots in New York as the son of Jamaican immigrants, he became the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the culmination of a 35-year military career. And he was the first African-American Secretary of State, a position he held for four years.
I hope that people will reflect on Colin Powell’s passing and remember a man who served his country with compassion and honor.”
Powell, who served for Republican and Democratic presidents, oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait in response to the Iraqi invasion of that country in 1991, under President George H.W. Bush. He then served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush.