As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches new heights in many parts of the country, many on the left have been quick to shoot down speculation that a spike in coronavirus cases could have anything to do with widespread protests. But one of their own just let the cat out of the bag.
According to Breitbart, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti admitted Wednesday that at least some of the new coronavirus cases in L.A. could be traced back to massive protests seen there in the wake of the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Is anyone really surprised?
The question of a link between the anti-police demonstrations and a recent surge in COVID-19 cases was posed to Garcetti by a Breitbart reporter at a press conference Wednesday.
“Some of the spread did come from our protests,” Garcetti conceded in response, according to Breitbart.
The mayor told reporters that he didn’t know the exact number of cases that have come from the protests, but said he could confirm with “more certitude than just a couple days ago” that there were indeed some instances of the coronavirus popping up thanks to widespread demonstrations.
A total about-face
Just two days earlier, on Monday, Garcetti had suggested that there was no evidence of any link between the protests and surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We follow the data closely. There’s no evidence yet that the protests led to much spread, though it’s something that Dr. [Barbara] Ferrer [of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health] has hypothesized, but we haven’t seen any conclusive evidence there,” Garcetti told reporters, according to local Fox affiliate KTTV.
Garcetti went on to urge residents to continue protesting — despite the ongoing pandemic.
“People still can obviously and should exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said Monday, according to KTTV. “This is a critical moment not to let up with that.”
Protests and pandemics
The mayor echoed much of the same sentiment in his Wednesday talk. Urging protesters to practice social distancing and wear masks, Garcetti said the “march for racial justice” ought to go on.
“I want to see march for racial justice continue,” Garcetti said, as Breitbart reported. “I don’t want to let up, I don’t want to see us just disappear.”
To hear Democrat leaders like Garcetti talk, you’d think the coronavirus was all but annihilated in America. But with The New York Times reporting over 128,000 dead and more than 2.7 million cases of COVID-19 — and growing — perhaps holding off on the mass gatherings for a while would be prudent.