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Mayor Garcetti Says That In Retrospect 'Some Things Did Open Up Too Quickly'

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Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke from City Hall today to reiterate that there are "no imminent plans" to shut the city down further, despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

The last time the mayor spoke was Sunday, when he conceded that L.A. opened the economy too quickly. He repeated that again today.

ADMISSION OF REGRET

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The mayor said in response to a question from a reporter, that he does in fact believe Los Angeles reopened too fast. He did not directly take responsibility for that decision, however, using the pronoun "we" instead of "I" when speaking about reopening, or simply stating, as he does below, that "things" opened up.

He said:

"I do think that we all can see, in retrospect, that some things did open up too quickly, that we didn't stick with the methodology of do something and wait three weeks and see the effect, then take the next step. it became kind of a domino effect, with the, as I call it, irrational exuberance of everybody thinking we could rush back to normal."

The mayor didn't specify who was responsible for those decisions or apologize for allowing a timeline he now says was too fast. He explained that miscalculating and estimating is just part of the process of dealing with the current situation, where we have to reopen things and then scale back if numbers go up... playing it by ear, so to speak.

"I love the quote that I've been quoting from a UCLA professor who said 'that's how these things work, you try to open the economy you see what happened, and then you dial it back a little bit,'" he said, "but I'm proud that we've done that in a way that we have been smart, we can learn, we can take a small step or two forward and again see what the impact is, and so far, 7-10 days into that work, we're seeing some hopeful signs, even though this is still very fragile."

The mayor added that there are always "tons of regrets" in this process, which relies on science-- a field riddled with uncertainty:

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"Remember when we were in junior high in high school, we had the composition books and you learn about something and you experiment, you see what the outcome of that is and you adjust...and that thing didn't work and you go forward until you get to the answer? That's what science is."

NO REPEAT SHUTDOWN...FOR NOW

The mayor said that the level of threat today is still orange and confirmed that he will not be closing any "additional businesses or activiites" this week. He said we should know in "the next week or so" if things get worse and if we risk being overwhelmed with more cases... in that situation, we may have to roll things back again. But he doesn't see that happening in the very near future.

Garcetti said the reason we're not going back into a full shutdown right now is becuase of the delay between exposure and positive confirmed cases of infection:

"...because, as I've communicated every single time, it takes three weeks or so to see the effect of our actions both when we open, and also when we restrict, and see where that COVID-19 needle moves. We know today's statistics are a snapshot from a couple weeks before between the closures two weeks ago."

He also urged businesses to follow the reopening guidelines exaclty as they're laid out, so that we don't have to take more steps backward:
"Businesses need to follow all the rules, all of the time. It's not a pick and choose menu, you can't decide which things you want to abide by in which you won't. All of them, and they're easy to find at coronavirus.la city.org/business."

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THE NUMBERS ARE GETTING (SLIGHTLY) BETTER

Garcetti said that our hospitalization numbers are slightly down from the peak of 2,232, but are still the third highest hospitalization record in the city so far. But he said that "this success is fragile."

He again cited younger Angelenos as a group that he's concerened about.

"The numbers make it clear," Garcetti said. "8.7% of all those affected in California are younger than 18 years of age, and in Los Angeles we just had 30% of the cases, about a few weeks ago, among folks 40 and younger."

He urged young people not to gather with others, with a reminder that even if they don't feel sick or have symptoms, they can spread the disease to family members "and kill them."

The mayor added some good news: the transmission rate has gone down over the past 10 days.

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He attributed that to "our collective work." Last week, he said the rate was 1.06. The high in recent weeks was 1.17. Today that rate has dropped to .94, so below the point of one, which he decribed as "below that magical threshold of one, meaning that every person who's contracting COVID-19 is now estimated to be passing that on to less than one person, but only if we keep up this work."

He closed today's press conference by asking that everyone continue to wear masks and follow guidelines, so that we can bring the numbers back down.

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