Updated March 11, 2020 - 10:08 pm
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman doubled down on criticism of the news media she offered during a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board meeting Tuesday, saying coronavirus reporting was hurting the public.
“This fear has taken over the world and if you look and talk to doctors, I have yet to see a doctor who espouses the voice of social media and what the media is doing here.”
Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook rejected Goodman’s assertions.
“During times like this, the public needs as much information as possible,” he said. “It is the absence of information that causes panic and confusion.”
Goodman, who has the power under the city charter to declare a state of emergency, said she has yet to determine whether that will happen. Other jurisdictions across the U.S. have made declarations amid confirmed COVID-19 cases, opening them up to additional funding and resources.
“When it’s appropriate and when the facts – when the truth is there – that will happen,” she said.
The Southern Nevada Health District reported three new “presumptive positive” COVID-19 cases Wednesday, raising the number of cases to five in Clark County.
But the district also assured that the risk of contracting the disease in Southern Nevada remained low for the general public and no greater in Las Vegas than any other travel destination in the U.S.
Goodman said she is “not in panic mode” and that city officials are listening closely to the health district, which says it is in daily communication with all key government leaders, state health organizations and others.
“From my perspective, what’s happened is this fear that’s taken over,” Goodman said, adding that people should continue to exercise routine health precautions such as washing hands.
Every entity in the city’s entertainment industry, she added, has always been extra cautious with millions of visitors: “Otherwise they’d be closed down.”
Goodman said that there was no reason to be more cautious than “rudimentary” hygiene. She also said that a comment she made during the LVCVA board meeting had been misinterpreted: When she said it was time to “figure out a way to take every cent that we can afford,” she was referring to resources for Washington to develop a vaccine as soon as possible, not boosting tourism revenue.
Goodman encouraged tourists to visit Las Vegas in spite of fears about the virus, the closure of MGM Resorts buffets and the cancellation of major events planned for the city.