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Former Alabama state senator warned of COVID-19 in final words: 'We messed up'

Some of former Alabama state Sen. Larry Dixon's (R) final words before he died on Friday due to COVID-19 were about how the nation had failed to respond to the pandemic.

Speaking to NBC News, Dixon’s friend and pulmonologist David Thrasher relayed his last words as told by the former state senator's wife, Gaynell Dixon.

“We messed up. We let our guard down,” said Larry Dixon, according to Thrasher. “Please tell everybody to be careful. This is real, and if you get diagnosed, get help immediately.”

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Thrasher stated that Larry Dixon, who was 78 when he died, was exposed at a gathering two weeks ago “with a couple of guys,” two of whom tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gaynell Dixon also contracted COVID-19 and is still recovering, said Thrasher. The couple’s two daughters contracted the virus earlier this year and recovered. So far, they do not appear to have been reinfected by their parents, according to Thrasher.

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Larry Dixon, who represented Montgomery, Ala., in the state Senate, began displaying COVID-19 symptoms a few days after the gathering. Thrasher said he was treated for those symptoms but that his condition quickly worsened and he was placed on a ventilator.

“I am still in shock,” wrote Perry Hooper, a former Alabama state representative who released a statement in response to the former state senator's death. “He devoted his life to service to this great city. He was a great legislator, a man of great moral character, and a devoted and loving husband and father.”

According to data from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alabama has recorded nearly 270,000 cases and about 3,800 deaths so far. NBC noted in its report that Alabama set a state record for hospitalization rates and new COVID-19 cases just hours before Larry Dixon died.

Alabama governor Kay IveyKay IveyOvernight Health Care: UK coronavirus variant now most common strain in US | Over 500K sign up for ObamaCare in special period | EU finds 'possible link' between AstraZeneca vaccine, blood clots Alabama gov to let statewide mask mandate expire Friday Here's who's eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in each state MORE (R) extended the state mask mandate early in November, moving back the deadline until Dec. 11. She has so far held off on shutting down businesses.

Ivey met on Nov. 20 with President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Harris to travel to Northern Triangle region in June Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate confirms Gupta nomination in tight vote Earth Day 2021: New directions for US climate policy rhetoric Biden says Chauvin verdict is step forward in fight against racial injustice MORE, along with other members of the National Governors Association Executive Committee, to discuss extending the deadline on spending funds provided by the CARES Act.

According to AL.com, Alabama has spent $850 million of the $1.7 billion. The state now has less than a month to spend the remaining funds.