Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman wants Vegas open for business again in spite of the covid-19 pandemic, and she’s willing to let people die to make sure it happens. During a 15-minute long interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that can only be described as taxing and inane, Goodman made it clear that she not only believes Las Vegas is ready to get back to business, but she thinks the city could serve as a model by opening the casinos, hotels, restaurants, and shops. When Cooper suggested that this could turn the tourist town into a “virus petri dish” that would endanger Las Vegas residents and visitors alike, Goodman accused Cooper of being an “alarmist.”
“I’ve lived a long life,” Goodman said. “I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I know what it’s like to be with subways and on buses and crammed into elevators.”
Being a New Yorker, though, clearly isn’t the immune-boosting trait Goodman espouses it to be, especially since the city became the covid-19 capital of the world with over 142,000 confirmed cases and nearly 11,000 deaths. (Sixty-eight of those deaths are of MTA workers, who presumably spent disproportionate time on those crowded subways and buses.)
But Goodman said that while she’s advocating the re-opening of Vegas, she believes social distancing rules can and should be maintained. When Cooper pushed Goodman to explain how anyone can social distance safely in a casino, Goodman was quick to absolve herself of responsibility.“That’s up to them [casino owners] to figure out!” Goodman said.“I don’t own a casino.”
Anyone who has ever been to a Las Vegas casino knows that it would be virtually impossible to social distance and sanitize every surface and item that visitors touch. But Goodman didn’t let logic get in the way of her advocacy for the casino owners.
“I’m not a private owner of a hotel!” Goodman continued. “I wish I were! And I would have the cleanest hotel with six feet figured out for every human being that comes in there.”
Cooper also asked Goodman about a recent statement she made Wednesday morning during an interview with NBC’s Katy Tur: Goodman said that assuming that everyone is a covid-19 carrier starts things off on an “even slate” and that businesses should reopen and the ones that “become evident that they have disease” will simply close down.
Cooper, undoubtedly, was confused about her logic. “If [a business] becomes a vector for viral infection and those people go back to their states and around the world, so be it?” Cooper asked.
“It’s a responsibility of each one of us as a human being and part of the civilized world to know when we’re sick, we don’t do bad things to people,” Goodman countered Presumably, many people who have covid-19 don’t know they’re sick, but she had no answers for how this responsibility might be enacted and enforced.
“When you count 150 [covid-19 deaths in Nevada] versus 2.3 million [Las Vegas metro residents], you have to say, ‘We have to open up!’” Goodman said. When Cooper interrupted, suggesting that the low number of covid-19 deaths in Nevada is due to social distancing, Goodman replied, “But how do you know until you have a control group? We offered to be a control group!”
“If casinos re-open, are you going to be inside those casinos every night, putting your life on the line?” Cooper asked.
Obviously not, because for all Goodman’s bluster, she wouldn’t dare put her health in jeopardy if given the choice not to. Because she’s not a hotel maid, a waiter, or a custodian. She’s an elected official who can conduct her work via video conference and phone calls, not a working-class Nevadan. Neither she nor the monied casino owners—the people Goodman really has in mind—are. But instead of being honest, Goodman deflected, insisting that Vegas wasn’t “broken” and that the lives lost are not enough to put the economy of the city to a grinding halt. Cooper didn’t let up.
“I haven’t heard you say yes, that you would be sitting on those casino floors every night along with the people you say you’re holding hands with,” Cooper said.
“What is the purpose of that?” Goodman scoffed. “First of all, I have a family, and I cook every meal every night.”
She has a family, unlike the casino workers, hotel cleaning staff, and restaurant workers she’s happy to use as guinea pigs. Right, got it.