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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti admits protests spreading COVID-19; gets ripped for double standard

Many are noticing the double standard how the L.A. mayor handles protests during the pandemic.

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has ordered the county's beaches, piers, and bike paths to be closed during the 4th of July weekend. Firework displays are also prohibited during the holiday weekend.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said gatherings with people other than those you live with are not permitted.

"I want to remind you, you still can't gather in groups. Whether you think you can get together to celebrate something like a birthday with folks who are not in your household, even if you know them or are related to them; that is still prohibited," the Democratic mayor said on Wednesday. "Gatherings and getting together with anyone, except those who you live with, will spread the virus."

During Garcetti's coronavirus press conference telling relatives that they can't visit each other, there was a crowded protest going on outside the city hall.

Dr. Drew Pinsky called out Garcetti for his "hypocrisy."

"I'll tell you one thing people cannot tolerate is hypocrisy or inconsistency," Pinsky said. "Then they will just not listen to you. And I think that's why we're getting some of the resistance to the thing we really need people to do: to distance and wear a mask and go about their life a little bit. But they have been so inconsistent and, frankly, let's just call it what it is: they've been deceptive on this and unwilling to answer it."

On Wednesday, Garcetti finally admitted that public protests are likely causing COVID-19 cases to spike, despite a day earlier saying the opposite. During Garcetti's coronavirus press briefing, he was asked if the Black Lives Matter protests were causing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Garcetti responded by saying that he had consulted with Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County director of public health, and she stated that the large demonstrations were a factor in the spread of coronavirus.

"I talked again with Dr. Ferrer about that this morning. She does think some of the spread did come from our protests," Garcetti replied. "It's not the act of protesting – that's a great and American thing to do no matter what your opinion is… but protesting without maintaining physical distancing, without wearing your mask, without having sanitizer – we just have to be smart. Whether you're at a protest or at your home, whether in your workplace or whether you're out shopping, these rules don't change."

"We do believe there is a connection, we don't believe that everybody has been doing this safely and wherever you can, please stay at home," he added.

Also on Wednesday, Dr. Ferrer acknowledged that the demonstrations are spreading the virus. "In situations where people are close together for longer periods of time and it's very crowded, we are certain that there is going to be spread," Ferrer said. "So, we've never said that there's no spread from people who were protesting."

"We've been really honest and said from the beginning that for any people that are in crowded situations for long periods of time — which long for us means more than 15 minutes — where you're in close contact with people, less than six feet apart and people aren't wearing a cloth face covering you have a heightened risk of either transmitting the virus if you are an asymptomatic spreader, or getting the virus from someone else who is spreading because they also are an asymptomatic spreader," she said.

During Garcetti's COVID-19 press conference on Tuesday, he said protests are not spreading the virus.

"We follow the data closely," Garcetti said. "There's no evidence yet that the protests led to much spread though it's something that Doctor Ferrer has hypothesized, but we haven't seen any conclusive evidence there."

Garcetti has participated in protests, where he didn't practice social distancing and even took his mask off.

California set a record for daily coronavirus cases on Thursday by adding 9,352 new cases.

One last thing…
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