Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that public protests were likely to cause an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city, just two days after claiming there was “no conclusive evidence” showing a link between the two.
Garcetti, a Democrat, was speaking at a press conference regarding the recent Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles when asked if the protests contributed to the spread of COVID-19.
He said he had consulted with Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for LA County, and determined that the protests were actually contributing to the spread of the virus.
“I discussed it again with Dr. Ferrer this morning. She thinks part of the spread came from our protests, “he said. It’s not the act of protesting – it’s a great American thing to do, whatever your opinion … but protesting without maintaining physical distance, without wearing your mask, without disinfectant – just be smart . Whether you attend an event or your home, whether it is at your workplace or shopping, these rules do not change. ”
He added: “We think there is a link, we don’t think everyone has done this safely and wherever you can, please stay at home. ”
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Fox News contacted the county health department for comment and received a video from an interview Wednesday with Dr. Ferrer, where she confirmed the statement.
“In situations where people are close to each other for longer periods and where there are a lot of people, we are sure it will spread. So, we never said there was no spread of people protesting, “she said.
After being asked earlier in the video if government officials were downplaying the effect of the protests on the coronavirus statistics, she said, “We have been really honest and said from the start that for everyone in situations of overcrowding for long periods – which for us means more than 15 minutes – when you are in close contact with people, within six feet of each other and people do not wear fabric covering your face, you have an increased risk of transmitting the virus if you are asymptomatic spreader, or catching the virus from someone else that spreads because it is also an asymptomatic spreader. ”
This collided with statements made by Garcetti at Tuesday’s press conference, where he called the idea hypothetical and downplayed the potential impact of mass public protests on the number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
“We are monitoring the data closely,” he said, according to Fox 11. “There is no evidence yet that the protests have led to wide circulation, although Dr. Ferrer has speculated , but we didn’t see any conclusive evidence there. ”
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Fox News contacted Mayor Garcetti’s press office for follow-up, but they did not return the request for comment.