Eric Garcetti, L.A. Mayor, is the latest California politician who insists that California’s pandemic rules do not apply to the majority. The governor. Garcetti is the perfect example of what Gov. The perfect face-saving line was even created by Garcetti: Wednesday’s photo of Garcetti wearing a mask with Magic Johnson, Lakers legend, surfaced. Garcetti assured concerned citizens that he only took the picture after he had held his breath. Los Angeles County also has an indoor and outdoor mask policy. Event attendees at SoFi Stadium must wear masks when they are not drinking.
Eric Garcetti wishes you were dumb enough to believe that every time he removed his mask at the Rams games, he held his breath. pic.twitter.com/r4FQeE24FY
— Kevin Dalton (@NextLAMayor) February 3, 2022
Garcetti’s hilariously absurd answer reveals either a misunderstanding of the spread of COVID or the extent that the rules he sets, but doesn’t feel the need, to be hygiene theatre.
As plexiglass barriers are not performative measures, they don’t make any sense when we consider what the facts about COVID. Similarly, holding your breath while you take a picture won’t stop you spreading it.
Garcetti may have said that photo ops can only be short encounters and that COVID is more likely to spread in long encounters where a higher viral load is possible. Just as we don’t need to cover up to go from the hostess’ stand to a place at the restaurant, there won’t likely be one photo op where someone is COVID positive. Garcetti needs to understand the importance of this pandemic. His behavior may suggest that he doesn’t understand that fact. Garcetti must acknowledge it and change his policies to reflect that realization.
There is more to the story than just a basic understanding of science. Garcetti sees COVID safety precautions as a tribe talisman. This is Garcetti’s way of showing his fellow liberals that the virus has been taken seriously. The claim that he held his breathe was made to preserve his political position at the top of a highly polarized constituency, which views masking patriotically and sacred; science is not used for advice about when one should remove a mask.
It is as wrong as his government’s insistence that physical building plans—as in, pieces of paper—be quarantined before a government employee will examine them:
~2 years into Covid, and ~18 months since we learned the disease is transmitted through the air, the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety still requires all submitted plans to be quarantined for several days before a plan-checker can review them.
— Moses Kagan (@moseskagan) February 2, 2022
Politicians could just admit they’re just like the rest of us—exhausted by the pandemic and its political wars of attrition on both sides, vaccinated and at low risk of bad COVID outcomes, who go to sporting events and take maskless pictures and see other people in close quarters because This is what athletes are expected to do during sporting events. They could also remove mandates for masks, citing the CDC’s acknowledgement that cloth masks do not accomplish all that much and that they are ignored anyway.
However, you shouldn’t be too sure.