LOS ANGELES, California — Mayor Eric Garcetti told a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon that the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the Los Angeles area were, in fact, partly responsible for a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
“Some of the spread did come from our protests,” Garcetti admitted, in response to a question from Breitbart News.
Garcetti had enthusiastically supported the protests and participated in them at close quarters, even removing his mask at one point to address a crowd. However, he had also warned demonstrators about the risk of COVID-19 at the protests.
Those warnings appear to have been correct, as cases have spiked within the Los Angeles area in recent days, prompting a return to closures for some businesses and for public beaches over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Another journalist followed up to ask Garcetti if he knew precisely how may coronavirus cases had been traced to the protests. He said that he did not have an answer at hand, but that public health officials felt “more certitude than just a couple days ago” that the protests had been responsible for some of the spike.
With that said, Garcetti insisted that people still had the right to protest. “I want to see march for racial justice continue,” he said. “I don’t want to let up, I don’t want to see us just disappear.”
However, he added, that people who participated in protests should remain “socially distant,” bringing masks and hand sanitizer, and maintaining additional separation from people who are shouting and chanting.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.