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Mr. President, Talk To Dr. Birx About LA

A stand in downtown LA's Fashion district sells toilet paper and face masks to passersby. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Mixed messages out of Washington today: The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, warning him that the city's long-term stay-at home orders may be "arbitrary and heavy handed."

Also today, one of the White House’s main medical advisors included Los Angeles as one of the regions where the spread of coronavirus remains a concern.

Dr. Deborah Birx said Los Angeles is one of three metropolitan areas that continue to see a high number of new cases reported each day.

“Even though Washington [D.C.] has remained closed, L.A. has remained closed, Chicago has remained closed, we still see these ongoing cases,” she said.

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Mayor Eric Garcetti responded to the DOJ letter in his coronavirus briefing tonight:

"We are not guided by politics in this, we are guided by science. We are guided by collaboration. So, talking to industry and talking to business owners, and talking to employees and labor groups, together with science and numbers, will always guide us forward. There is nothing else."

L.A.'s latest stay-at-home order was originally supposed to be lifted May 15. It's still in place, but city and county officials have relaxed some provisions to allow beaches and hiking trails to reopen, and businesses to reopen for curbside pickup.

Birx said she would ask the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the problem areas “to really understand where are these new cases coming from, and what do we need to do to prevent them in the future.”

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