Responses to the COVID-19 crisis are varying dramatically across the United States. Although the Trump administration has issued a timeline for when states should consider opening up their economies, at a local level, political and economic motivations seem to be taking precedence over public health. In Las Vegas, for example, Mayor Carolyn Goodman is advocating for the reopening of the city’s casinos, despite the absence of a concrete plan for safely doing so.
In a frustrating exchange on Anderson Cooper 360, Goodman advocated quickly opening casinos, seemingly ignoring evidence that doing so would cause a spike in infections.
Given the large crowds casinos would attract, and the difficult task of keeping facilities clean and enforcing social distancing, Cooper was skeptical of the plan. When Cooper challenged Goodman, saying, “Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish?” she replied, “It sounds like you’re being an alarmist.”
Even when Cooper showed her a graphic produced by Chinese scientists, illustrating how the virus could easily spread inside a restaurant, Goodman remarked, “This isn’t China. This is Las Vegas, Nevada.”
“Wow, okay,” Cooper replied. “That’s really ignorant. That’s an ignorant, ignorant statement.”
From this interview, it seems that when states and cities do decide to reopen, it will be incumbent upon individuals to decide whether it’s truly safe to go about business as usual. Part of making that decision is understanding what research and scientific data — or lack thereof — was behind the reasoning to open in the first place.