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Garcetti: LA Could Start Reopening With 'Baby Steps' In 2-6 Weeks

File: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shows a Memorandum with COVID-19 city department guidelines on Thursday, March 12. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)
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Los Angeles could begin tiptoeing toward normalcy as soon as two weeks from now, Mayor Eric Garcetti said today. Of course, there are plenty of caveats.

It's been more than a month since Garcetti first issued his "Safer at Home" order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. "Nonessential" businesses were closed or shifted to remote work, and residents were required to stay home unless working "essential" jobs or seeking "essential" services.

On April 27, speaking with Larry Mantle on KPCC's public affairs show AirTalk, Garcetti repeated what we have heard from elected leaders and public health officials for weeks now: Reopening safely will require more testing and plenty of safeguards to prevent new outbreaks.

"My sense is probably in the next two to six weeks we'll see some baby steps forward," Garcetti said, adding that "it's not really about a date, or how few cases you have — it's about the infrastructure you have to handle opening up." He continued:

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"So the good news is the bad news here. The good news is... what we've been doing has worked. It has saved thousands of lives. But the bad news is that means according to the USC prevalence study, we have about 96% of us that could still get this, and if we open up the wrong way, we could have, by August 1, 95% of us with COVID-19. And I don't have to tell you the tens of thousands of deaths that would cause."

What is the "right way" then?
"So it's really about scaling, testing, safeguarding Angelenos — and still continuing to stay at home, probably for the majority of things that we do, and for the majority of workers.

But seeing those numbers come down, testing those for two to three weeks, seeing if there's a spike. If not, take another step forward. So it has to be kind of a series of sequences.

But certainly the federal, state, county government — and we're trying to assist them — really need to focus on making sure we have the people to track and trace, and the testing to make sure we know what the prevalence is and the infectiousness at any given time."

Garcetti also discussed how the city budget will be "the most dynamic" he thinks the city's ever had, with reassessments every two to three weeks as the situation changes, and to account for potential federal aid.


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