Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti admitted during a press conference this week that the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the city and county have contributed to the rise in Wuhan coronavirus cases.
The protests were in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while he was in police custody in May. Since then, large protests have occurred across the country, with Los Angeles experiencing protests on a near-daily basis.
And now there’s a large drum circle and dancing outside of Los Angeles city hall. pic.twitter.com/qNK8uvUT7N— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 6, 2020
Garcetti explained Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County's director of public health, said the protests have added to the number of cases in the area.
"I talked again with Dr. Ferrer about that this morning. She does think some of the spread did come from our protests," Garcetti said, according to Fox News. "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 said.
Garcetti's comments walked back earlier statements where he said there has been no evidence the protests have cause COVID-19 cases numbers to go up.
"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. So, we’ve never said that there’s no spread from people who were protesting," Ferrer said in an interview this week.