Apr 7, 2020
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 7
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference on coronavirus on April 7. He talked further about the mask order issued this week and how the city is helping businesses abide by it. Read the full transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Eric Garcetti: (00:00)
Good evening Los Angeles and thank you again for joining me. We’re back here at City Hall and I want to thank everybody again at our Emergency Operations Center last night, who showed all of you out there what our tireless team is doing every single day to make sure that we meet the challenge of this crisis, of this threat and of this moment. I’m so honored to work alongside them and to work alongside each one of you who is doing your part. Whether it’s staying at home, whether it’s going to critical work or whether it’s helping each other out, Los Angeles is setting the bar, not just for ourselves but around this nation and around this world, for the caring, for the cure and for all the work we are doing together.
Eric Garcetti: (00:41)
I know a lot of people have compared this to a kind of sudden shock, a moment like a Pearl Harbor or an earthquake or a 9/11. And yet I think it’s not quite the right metaphor because this isn’t about one single day and then rebuilding from it. It’s a threat that gets worse every single day. One in which it is tougher and tougher on each one of us. Certainly for me to share the numbers that I do each day. I know for those that are on the front line in our hospitals, folks that continue to provide us with food and the badly needed things that we need to continue living while we’re at home.
Eric Garcetti: (01:15)
And so I know that on each one of these days, I don’t breeze through these numbers just as data, but recognizing the human beings that are behind them, the everyday heroes who are driving buses and taking nurses to the hospital, the first responders who are there to answer those 9-1-1 calls, the doctors and nurses, the janitors who are working in hospitals. Every single one of us has been a hero. And I thank you for the work that you continue to do.
Eric Garcetti: (01:43)
Each day, just like the threat as it grows stronger, so does our response. And that’s part of what I get the honor of sharing with you each night. That each day, whether it’s more testing, whether it’s expanding bed capacity, finding new spaces for hospital beds, or the work that we’re doing to procure the equipment that we need for our first responders and healthcare workers, we are every day stepping up to the challenge of this and outpacing hopefully what this virus is doing.
Eric Garcetti: (02:12)
Each day you stay at home, you cripple this virus a little bit more. Each day we continue to grow the work that we’re doing in government with help from private sector and philanthropy, everyday donations from folks like you that helps us get ahead of the virus and look at each day with a little bit more hope. We know that each day we meet this threat is with hope and resolve, with love and with determination.
Eric Garcetti: (02:37)
So let me jump into the questions we ask each night. We ask those basic questions. How will we help each other get through today and through tomorrow? What about the anxiety around our paychecks, the rent, access to medical care? And how can we protect public health and public safety? And ultimately how do we save lives? That is the most important question we try to answer each night.
Eric Garcetti: (03:02)
Tonight I’ll be joined by another one of the amazing field marshals in this effort. Gene Seroka who is over here to my right, a great friend, somebody who has represented all of you leading the busiest container port in all of the Americas, somebody who has an incredible set of experience, of breadth of experience, and a depth of knowledge to help us get our hospitals and our first responders and all of us the goods that we need to win this fight. And you’ll be hearing from him in a little bit.
Eric Garcetti: (03:33)
But let’s start today as I always do with today’s data snapshot. Today was the worst day of this pandemic in our nation. Today, more people died of COVID-19 in the United States of America than any previous day, at least 1,632 of our fellow country men and women. And I want to send my love to everyone across this country who is grieving, from here in Los Angeles and across our county, across California and across the United States. And of course this dreaded virus unites us across borders, something that we know about here in this diverse city. But today, it’s estimated that more than 7,000 people across the globe lost their lives to COVID-19.
Eric Garcetti: (04:20)
Here locally, we added 550 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, a 9% increase, bringing our numbers up to 6, 910 confirmed cases. This was the third highest number of cases in a single day. And as I shared last night when we had just a 7% increase, a great number compared to what we’ve had before, I said take Monday with a little bit of a grain of salt. But even on Tuesday to see 9%, that’s decent news. We don’t want to see any increase and we can’t wait for the day when we actually see a decrease. But for now it shows that the double digit increases of just a week ago and the 20 plus percent days that we had just two weeks ago have now been met.
Eric Garcetti: (05:07)
Here in the city we increased the cases by 279 confirmed cases to a total of 3,130 cases. You can hear in the background the fire engines and the great first responders who are often the first ones to respond and to transport these cases. That represents a 9% increase here in our city. And we have 22 deaths unfortunately to report today in Los Angeles County, our second highest number. That brings the total number of fallen angels here in Los Angeles to 169, a 15% increase. Simply put, we are doubling our deaths still every four days.
Eric Garcetti: (05:48)
So for anybody who thinks that our work is done or that we can see that light just in front of us at the end of the tunnel, we still have a way to walk together and I need your help.
Eric Garcetti: (05:59)
We’re discovering more about COVID-19 every single day. And today Dr. Ferrer shared some very important information about the racial breakdown of the deaths in LA County, of victims of COVID-19. And early data on deaths shows us that no group, no age group, no gender, no racial ethnic religious group is immune from COVID-19. But like many things in our society, this disease, especially the way it kills, is hitting folks with preexisting conditions like diabetes, obesity and other conditions disproportionately found in poor communities and communities of color, the hardest.
Eric Garcetti: (06:39)
And second based on initial data, the virus is disproportionately killing African-Americans here in Los Angeles County. A reminder that while this virus has narrowed our sights on the immediate challenge before us, longterm racial disparities still exist. And while this is a virus that certainly doesn’t pick who it infects based on the color, the effect that it has on our communities can be disproportionate.
Eric Garcetti: (07:05)
It’s not just here in Los Angeles. In Chicago, black Americans account for 68% of the city’s 118 deaths, 52% of the roughly 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, despite just making up 30% of that city’s population. Here it was 17% of the deaths in a county where African Americans are 9% of the population. And in Michigan and Illinois, two of the earliest states to produce such data, African-Americans account for about a third of coronavirus cases and about 40% of deaths, even though they make up just 15% and 14% respectively of those state’s total populations.
Eric Garcetti: (07:41)
And while we know that this reflects some of the preexisting health conditions that are disproportionately effected in our communities of color, the Loyola Marymount University poll that I mentioned a couple times and whose final results we’ll be looking forward to sharing next week, showed something very interesting as well, that just 21.7% of African American respondents were very worried that they or a member of their household would get the coronavirus. And that compares to 35% of the population at large.
Eric Garcetti: (08:11)
So let me be very clear. We need every community to understand that this will affect you. Every person. If you’re young, this will find you and can kill you or a loved one. If you are strong, this can find you or a loved one and kill them. And no matter what community you live in or come from, this is a threat to you.
Eric Garcetti: (08:34)
As we prepare for the peak, we continue to do the good work though, of making sure across our hospitals and in new spaces, that we have the necessary bed inventory to meet that peak.
Eric Garcetti: (08:46)
Today I’d like to report we have 1,406 beds available in our general emergency hospitals. 258 of those are ICU beds. We have 1010 ventilators that are ready to serve people who need them. And we also have, throughout Los Angeles, many hospitals that are stepping up to move beds around, create new spaces and to make sure that they can meet this threat.
Eric Garcetti: (09:15)
There are 30,000 tests that we will conduct through our drive-through centers by the end of the week, on top of the 31,000 that were done in our providers, and 21,000 that we have done to date through our drive-through centers. This is a good number. I was doing the statistics earlier today. If LA City were an independent state, we would be ranked fourth in the per capita tests just behind New York, Louisiana and Washington. LA County would be in the upper part of the middle part of the pack.
Eric Garcetti: (09:51)
We need to do better and my goal is to get to the very top of that to keep adding as many tests as possible. And I want to thank so many folks who signed up. We had a record number of signups since we announced yesterday that anybody with symptoms, and that’s very important for me to state again because some people said, “Oh anybody can sign up.” No, now it’s anybody with symptoms can see whether there is a test available. And we’ve opened up the aperture to allow more folks to have them.
Eric Garcetti: (10:16)
But we’re finding something interesting I wanted to share with you, that about 15% to 20% of people aren’t showing up for their appointments. So if you are turned down at night or in the morning, check in again mid-day or in the early part of the afternoon because we have the capacity to serve more people and we certainly don’t want to have one single test that’s available that day wait until the following day. As always, you can go to coronavirus.lacity.org/testing to find out whether you can get an appointment and get a test right now.
Eric Garcetti: (10:47)
We also need to protect those workers that are on the front lines, the everyday heroes that I mentioned that are in our grocery stores and pharmacies, people who are out there working hard so that we can get the food and the medicine that we need to get through this. And that’s why we’re reserving though, N95 and other medical-grade mass for our doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and other first responders.
Eric Garcetti: (11:08)
But tonight I am putting forward an order, a worker protection order to give our nonmedical essential workers more tools to stay safe and to keep us all healthy. Starting this Friday, April 10th at midnight, Thursday night, Friday morning, all employees of many nonmedical essential businesses will be required to wear cloth face coverings over their noses and mouths while at work. Employers are required to provide these face protections or to reimburse employees for their costs. This applies to workers in grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, hotels, taxis and rideshare vehicles, and construction sites among other central businesses. And they will soon have the protection of these cloth face coverings. We wanted to wait until these were available. We can see people now selling them on corners, online. Our capacity, thanks to the amazing apparel industry here, has expanded and people can buy them online. I’ll get to that a little bit more in a second.
Eric Garcetti: (12:10)
These businesses that we are singling out as well must also make sure that their employees have access to a clean and sanitary restroom along with proper cleansing products like soap and sanitizer, and allow their employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes. They are required to implement physical distancing measures as well for customers, visitors and workers. We’re also encouraging all essential retail businesses to add plexiglas barriers between cashiers and customers. We know there isn’t yet enough plexiglass to go around, but we do hope to work to get as much of that as possible. Right now this is an encouragement that we hope that employers will adopt.
Eric Garcetti: (12:52)
And every Angeleno will share this responsibility with employers to keep workers and everybody else safe, which is why we are requiring customers to wear face coverings when they enter those businesses that I mentioned. If you’re shopping for groceries, if you’re picking up your prescription, or visiting any other essential business, you will need to cover your face. And if you’re not covering your face by Friday morning an essential business can refuse you service.
Eric Garcetti: (13:17)
And I want to thank the leaders who have been so instrumental in helping us get to this worker order. Many people worked on this. Council Member, Herb Wesson, Curren Price from the City Council as well. Both who were an amazing team together with John Grant, who leads the United Food and Commercial Workers, local 770. Ron Herrera, who leads our Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The California Grocers Association, who you’ve seen me stand with before. And workers at essential businesses across Los Angeles who go to work every day so that Angelenos can stay safer at home.
Eric Garcetti: (13:50)
We consulted and got feedback from Dr. Ferrer on this from Los Angeles County. And as always, I’ve included Supervisor Barger in this. And I know mayors like Mayor Garcia in Long Beach are also looking at the same language so that we can do this across LA County together. So cover up, save a life. It’s that simple.
Eric Garcetti: (14:12)
My LA Protects Manufacturing initiative has seen a surge of interest from garment manufacturers across LA. As of today, I am proud to report we have 800 companies that have signed up, and 384 local companies have already been approved for operations to meet the needs of the public for face coverings and the more than 600 essential businesses that have requested 911,000 nonmedical masks through this effort. My team has sent businesses a database of LA Protects Manufacturers so they can source here locally, spend those dollars that we need to help our economy in this tough moment, put workers back to work right here safely distanced, but in our garment industry. And we’ve started directly matching larger essential businesses to manufacturers.
Eric Garcetti: (14:58)
Major grocery store chains are working with UStrive Manufacturing, which is producing nonmedical masks and other items for local hospitals. And we’ve connected other essential businesses like La La Land, Nana, Upcycle LA with those folks that need masks as well. And they have the capacity to produce over 400,000 nonmedical masks that meet the specifications that Kaiser Permanente helped us develop. That means restaurants like Sweetgreen, essential stores like Home Depot, nonmedical staff and patients at California Hospital Medical Center can now place an order directly with a manufacturer to get the masks that they need.
Eric Garcetti: (15:37)
We know that there are a lot of small businesses and individuals that are looking for a way to buy nonmedical masks too. So if you are in need, please go to coronavirus.lacity.org/laprotects. LA Protects isn’t just about protecting people in essential industries. It’s also about making sure that we can protect those who are unsheltered on our streets. And we put a strong emphasis on trying to get these face coverings onto the streets of LA where our most vulnerable unhoused Angelenos are.
Eric Garcetti: (16:08)
Today, I can report that one of our local manufacturers Two Bees, who I want to give a special shout out to, has produced an initial batch of 2000 nonmedical masks to help keep unhoused Angelenos and outreach workers who work with them safe. Thank you for that. And the first two orders of nonmedical masks were delivered last week. And Let’s Go Uptown Apparel, another LA Protects manufacturer is on track to produce 30,000 of these to be delivered on Friday to LASA, to YMCA and to other homeless service providers.
Eric Garcetti: (16:38)
And finally, let me thank Reformation, who’s been the lead company in really helping us do LA Protects. You’ve been extraordinary, whether it’s developing specs, helping give advice to other companies, or marshaling this incredible network we have of manufacturers in LA. You have been absolutely incredible. We’re using every resource at our disposal to keep Angelenos safe. And so now-
Eric Garcetti: (17:03)
… disposal to keep Angelenos safe. And so now I want you to hear a little bit from Gene Seroka. As I mentioned last week, I asked Gene to step up to a special and absolutely critical role to be for the first time our city’s chief logistics officer. We’ve all heard the stories across the country of people battling it out to get masks, to get equipment, to get some of the respirator ventilators that we need. All of these things have made it difficult for everyday hospitals, businesses, frontline workers to get what they need. And we wanted to ensure here in Los Angeles, we’re taking advantage of the brilliance that we have from Gene, from longshore workers, from logisticians, from folks that every single day provide 43% of the goods that come by sea into America through our joint ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, to apply that brilliance to this challenge.
Eric Garcetti: (17:53)
So not only did we appoint Gene as the chief logistics officer for the city, he launched a new business to business website as part of Logistics Victory LA, our campaign to get us what we need to fight this battle. And that’s at coronavirus.lacity.org/LOVLA, like love LA without the E. So Gene, why don’t I turn it over to you to share with Angelenos what we’re doing to make sure we have what we need to fight this fight. Thank you.
Gene Seroka: (18:21)
Thank you, Mayor. The LoVLA site, which was launched today, will bring together hospitals and their specific needs, manufacturers and suppliers with what they can bring us here to our medical frontline folks, as well as what we are building in the city of Los Angeles as a stockpile of inventories.
Gene Seroka: (18:40)
As an example, right now in LA city, we’re using about 1.6 million of these N95 medical grade masks per month. In the county, it’s more than three-and-a-half million. And our job starting right away is to bring more of those masks into the pipeline and build our own stockpile right here in Los Angeles. So this marketplace of sorts will be built and designed by the medical community for the medical community.
Gene Seroka: (19:07)
And that leads us into the next area of how we’re building the stockpile right now. With Mayor Garcetti’s offering and the blessing of the Los Angeles city council, we have now compiled $20 million to begin purchasing these crucial medical goods. And not only the masks, but we’re looking for ventilators, exam gloves, face shields, and so many other products that are critical to our frontline medical personnel. And that starts with an order I put in working with our general services department and the best buyer in the business, [inaudible 00:02:37], to get 1 million masks on the ground by the end of this week. And they will be distributed through the LoVLA website to those hospitals that are in the greatest need to begin with.
Gene Seroka: (19:48)
And that procurement is going to be very important because we’re looking for other channels to be able to bring those products in, and using the great power of the city’s buying and purchasing capabilities is really where going next to amp up those decades worth of relationships with our vendors and suppliers and have them focused in this particular area of the medical supplies.
Gene Seroka: (20:08)
And our job is to expedite the goods. As the mayor mentioned, with the Port of Los Angeles and LAX, we have a keen line of sight through our technology as to where these medical shipments are. We can highlight them and speed them through our system right to our hospitals, emergency management folks, and critical care units. Those highlighted shipments will move through as quickly as possible so we can again keep building stock right on the front line.
Gene Seroka: (20:33)
In addition, we’re also looking at how we can bring new companies in and working specifically with the California Manufacturer and Technology Association led by Lance Hastings. We have companies that are retooling their plants and their production flows to get into the medical supplies business. So we’ve looked at an omnichannel take on our supply chain and what we can bring in and hitting the ground running with so many folks that are chipping in right now, Mayor, I think we’re off to a good start, but there is so much work to do to realize our vision.
Eric Garcetti: (21:02)
Well, thank you. I hope you can see why I’ve always been so impressed with Gene Seroka. For those of you who don’t see the studio here, that was no notes, no teleprompter, that’s just off of his head. And he has done an extraordinary job marshaling these resources, bringing the brilliance that you see every single day to port.
Eric Garcetti: (21:19)
And as I mentioned, we can do all the work in the world, but if it isn’t for those longshore workers, those truck drivers, warehouse workers, that are doing the work when those ships arrive, we couldn’t get anything done. So big shout out to ILWU and the Teamsters and our truck drivers and everybody getting this work done.
Eric Garcetti: (21:35)
Finally, let me turn to two other last things. One is we saw finally with federal action that our federal government has brought some help to everyday Americans. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed last month, which expanded unemployment benefits and increased food assistance. It guaranteed free testing for uninsured Americans. But it also expanded paid family leave for our workers allowing people who are 65 or older or required to quarantine or caring for a parent or child to take paid time off.
Eric Garcetti: (22:07)
But there was a major gap in the policy. It only protected businesses that employ between 51 and 500 people. In other words, Congress came up with a solution that excludes about 80% of American workers. And so now that responsibility falls to us to fill the gap and to extend those protections to all Angelenos.
Eric Garcetti: (22:26)
That’s why your city council passed an ordinance to deliver those same benefits to Los Angeles workers and businesses with more than 500 employees, allowing tens of thousands of folks to stay safer at home. These workers will receive 100% of their wages for a maximum of 10 work days. And I’m grateful to the council for their swift action on this, and especially I want to thank council president Nury Martinez, who led the charge. Her dedication to our city’s most vulnerable is incredible, and I want to thank the entire council for leading with compassion, clarity, and courage. Building on this action, I think we can do even more to protect jobs, workers, and businesses. And as it is currently written, the ordinance doesn’t credit many of the businesses that already have very progressive policies in place. It could also cause many chain non-franchise restaurants to close and create some staffing shortages in critical industries, especially our hospitals and medical care workers.
Eric Garcetti: (23:23)
So I will be enacting an emergency order to fill in the gaps of the ordinance. And then I’ve been speaking to Council President Martinez and we’ll make sure that those both harmonize in the days ahead. And I look forward to that work and thank the council again for their leadership that has been the most progressive in this nation.
Eric Garcetti: (23:40)
Finally, I know that these days for all of us are not just difficult days, but traditionally these are very special and holy days. For many people of faith in our city and across the world, we’re entering a Holy season. Tomorrow is the first night of Passover. This Sunday is Easter Sunday. And Ramadan starts just in two weeks. And these are the days that we gather together to pause our lives, to spend a moment with our loved ones, and to reflect on what our year has been, to renew our faith in each other and in God, and to spend time together.
Eric Garcetti: (24:18)
This year it’s going to be very different. Seders are going to be done virtually or in small numbers. Easter Sunday won’t be in church, and Iftar, breaking of the fast during Ramadan, won’t be done in big community gatherings. I know that this is hard and these holidays are moments when we’re supposed to unite with our communities to find a sense of hope even in these darkest of moments.
Eric Garcetti: (24:42)
Whether we are people of faith or hold no faith at all, I hope each of us can take meaning from what we are going through in this moment. That we need each other. That it is the connections between human beings and to something larger than ourselves that will help us light through the darkness. Exercising our freedom depends on taking responsibility for one another. So while that freedom often means being able to go out and celebrate, to go on a hike, or to the beach, to gather at these holy moments, this year, those will be more private.
Eric Garcetti: (25:14)
But we can look back just as the stories of Passover teach us and the story of Easter teaches us, and the time of Ramadan allows for us, to know that this is a time of redemption, a time of rebirth, and a time of sacrifice for each one of us. That we will be able to look back and say, “We did something to save the lives of our family members, of our neighbors, and of our city.”
Eric Garcetti: (25:39)
So right now let’s celebrate apart, and I wish you all the blessings as we begin these holy days. I hope that those blessings may look down on us to keep us safe and to keep us strong. And so as always, I say let’s do our part, stay healthy, stay safe, and to stay at home. Strengthen love, Los Angeles. Thank you all. And now we’ll take some questions.
Eric Garcetti: (26:07)
First question please.
Speaker 1: (26:08)
The question is from the line of Mary Beth McDade with Channel 5 News. Please go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (26:12)
Hey, Mary Beth.
Mary Beth McDade: (26:14)
Hi, how are you?
Eric Garcetti: (26:15)
Good. How are you?
Mary Beth McDade: (26:18)
[crosstalk 00:26:18] turn down my TV here. So I’m looking at the IHME model that you were referring to yesterday out of University of Washington.
Eric Garcetti: (26:25)
Mary Beth McDade: (26:26)
I’m just a little bit confused about that. I looked on here, I see that they’re saying that California, the state of California, that it’s seven days until peak resource use on April 14th, maybe that’s going to be the peak day that we’re going to need all these beds and ICU beds and ventilators. And then they’re also saying that we’re 10 days out until the peak projected day of the most amount of deaths on April 17th. So I’m just confused as to why I’m hearing the other numbers from watching the governor’s press conference, and the counties, and they’re saying that it may possibly be June.
Eric Garcetti: (27:08)
So projections are just that, Mary Beth. And there’s a number of really excellent people who are working across the country. And so each one is just one snapshot and best estimate. Even those estimates, for instance, changed four days from an earlier estimate on April 2nd, so these are very fluid, very dynamic things.
Eric Garcetti: (27:29)
The data that the governor’s projections are using do say that it will be later, and I tend to think it will be later. This is not just looking at California. This methodology was looking at all 50 states, and you can pull any one state out of their methodology. And remember, an average of a state doesn’t necessarily say what will happen here in Los Angeles. Northern California had a bigger outbreak earlier than we did, so I expect ours to lag a week or two. And I think when the governor is talking about that, he’s talking about the entire state. I haven’t heard projections that go into June yet, but there are many that do push into later April or beginning of May. Truth of the matter is we won’t know until we get through those. And as we’ve seen in certain places, deaths can lag because people get sick, and obviously are sick for a number of days, before they die. So we could have a peak in cases or the day that has the most new cases be earlier than the day that we have the most deaths.
Eric Garcetti: (28:24)
But there’s no question too, that the peak is not a day, peak plus one in which everything is rosy. It’s still going to be the second or third worst day. We might see it beginning to come down, but just as this built slowly, it can also go down slowly and require us to have the discipline of a number of weeks. We try to look at this data all the time. And we’re working with a number of sources to see if we can have a specific LA county projection. So hopefully if we can get that by week’s end or the beginning of next week, we’ll be able to share that with you as well.
Eric Garcetti: (28:56)
There’s a lot of different things that go into this and a lot of things people still don’t know about the coronavirus. So each model has to make assumptions that are not 100% medically correct yet, that are about how many people are spreading, what’s the doubling rate, the impact of weather, all sorts of things go into these models.
Eric Garcetti: (29:14)
But the University of Washington one has very sound methodology. I would say if that is one of the earlier ones and you have later, it’s a law of averages. We can expect that sometime later in this month or the beginning of next month, we will have a peak. And we should be acting like everyday is the peak. Today you should act like peak. We heard Dr. Ferrer say this is a good week to not head out because this is certainly when we are beginning to crest. And whether that comes this week, next week, two weeks, or four weeks from now, we should be prepared to know that this is a very critical week and stay at home as much as possible. Thanks, Mary Beth. Next question.
Speaker 1: (29:53)
Next question comes from the line of Robert Kovacik with NBC. Please go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (29:58)
Robert Kovacik: (29:58)
Mayor Garcetti, how are you?
Eric Garcetti: (29:59)
Good. Hanging in there.
Robert Kovacik: (29:59)
This has nothing to do with a timetable, but earlier today the Los Angeles Department of Public Health told us the plans are underway for reopening, but it will be, I’m quoting here, “A gradual lifting of restrictions that will come about from this emergency order.” So for those hoping to get back to work, open their businesses, open their restaurants, et cetera, can you elaborate what this gradual lifting of restrictions means, and what this return to normality is going to look like in the beginning?
Eric Garcetti: (30:34)
Sure, and I don’t want to speak for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, but I know they’re planning for… I don’t think that they have a set series of dates. There’s no secret room that we all go into, and we have dates that we’re not sharing with folks. I’m as transparent every single night with all the data that I get with everybody out there. But we are preparing, whether it’s cities or the county for, as I’ve told people, this is not going to be a light switch that suddenly goes on, and everybody comes back to an economy that is exactly the same where there’s as many workers, and everybody comes out of their homes simultaneously. There are going to be those that are still more vulnerable because of preexisting conditions, because of age and other factors, where there may be recommendations from County Public Health to continue staying at home, while other workers can head out.
Eric Garcetti: (31:19)
Now, an important part of that is our serology or blood tests, those tests that allow within 15 minutes or less to see whether somebody is carrying the antibodies that show that they’ve had COVID-19. It’s not necessarily a good test for finding out if somebody has it right now and is infectious. That’s still the swab based test that we’re doing. But these ones will allow us to know somebody who might have not even known that they had COVID-19, but now have some built up immunity. And that will allow to take the advice of Los Angeles County Public Health and say, “Some people can return,” or, “Maybe we’ve been able to not just bend the curve, but flatten it down so much that most people can return to work.”
Eric Garcetti: (32:03)
So we are preparing for those and starting just the initial conversations of how that could be done, watching places around the world from China to Italy to others who have either done that or are talking about that because we do want to get people back as soon as possible with this last caveat.
Eric Garcetti: (32:21)
As I shared last night, look at history, and a lot of places that did a good job in 1918 with the influenza epidemic, one of them was just up the coast, San Francisco. They patted themselves on the back, went back to everyday life quite quickly because they had pushed down the cases dramatically, and they saw a second surge almost right away that killed, I believe, almost as many people as the first surge.
Eric Garcetti: (32:45)
Los Angeles was a little bit more conservative in 1918 and waited longer, and we didn’t have that second surge. So I think it is really important that we be conservative, but that we also acknowledge there will be steps, not just one day when suddenly the economy just flips back to where we were before. Thanks, Robert. Next question.
Speaker 1: (33:04)
Question from the line of Lee Ross with Fox News. Please go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (33:06)
Lee Ross: (33:06)
Good evening, Mayor.
Eric Garcetti: (33:06)
Lee Ross: (33:12)
I think my question kind of follows up on those two, hopefully well, I think. It was a little more than a week ago, Mayor, that you asked Washington to issue a nationwide shelter order. Now, while that hasn’t happened, it’s true that most of the country is now staying at home. And at that time you said, I’m quoting you here, “This virus is nasty. It will cross borders. It ignores states. It is no longer about containment. It is about a uniformity of action.” When it comes time to reopen, is your assessment that the best way to effectuate uniformity of action is for a national call to reopen, even if it’s later than some communities, perhaps Los Angeles, may want?
Eric Garcetti: (33:56)
Look, I think we would all benefit from more uniformity at the national level and even at the global level. The World Health Organization was very clear…
Eric Garcetti: (34:03)
And even at the global level. The World Health Organization was very clear with its warnings with COVID-19 but too many nations ignored that or didn’t take it seriously enough. We need to strengthen that at the international level so that when we get guidance it is something that countries around the world uniformly adopt and take measures against.
Eric Garcetti: (34:19)
Second, we need that in the United States so that we don’t have the unevenness that we’ve seen where some people decide it’s political, it’s about your party or your geography or other things. A virus is not a political thing. A virus is a medical thing and there’s no question when we get back to restarting the country, that national guidance would be very helpful. But it’s also going to be about capacity and I would love to see our nations leaders help us not try to get the exit, do the exit on our own as we’ve had to deal with the onslaught too often on our own.
Eric Garcetti: (34:55)
We’ve had to figure out how to do testing here locally. That’s kind of crazy. I have firefighters and paramedics who are standing in the rain as people drive through on city facilities with tests that we bought instead of there being national leadership on that. We have states that don’t have the resources and they’re going to be hit even harder than those of us who have doctors and hospitals, especially in rural areas.
Eric Garcetti: (35:18)
We’ve been on our own at the beginning of this, but wouldn’t it be marvelous on the outset if they said nationally we have helped get 350 million tests, of blood tests so that we could all know whether we’ve carried this, have kind of immunity passport so that people were then permitted across the country to go back to work, to go back to school if they had that side of immunity.
Eric Garcetti: (35:39)
That’s the sort of leadership that I’m absolutely looking for, but if other places don’t provide that, specifically Washington, and we have capacity here, we will as we’ve had to go in many parts of this, go it alone, but I think public health folks have been very clear that don’t open up your city early just because you’re doing well. This virus can come back and it can come back with a fury. We need America to do well. We need America to get through this together and then the whole globe because as we’ve seen in China, people returning can also spike this back up or threaten to spike it back up as well.
Eric Garcetti: (36:14)
Thanks for the question. Next question.
Speaker 3: (36:21)
[inaudible 00:36:21] Emily.
Eric Garcetti: (36:23)
Hey Emily. How are you?
Hi there. The audio cut out just as you were describing what the change was being made on [inaudible 00:36:32]. Can you repeat your announcement and explain if there are any changes to what the council approved, why you’re making those changes?
Eric Garcetti: (36:39)
Sure. We’ve done this in conjunction. I spoke with council President Martinez. I think there was some stuff, as I said, a couple of days ago. It was done quite quickly. I’ll give you one example.
Eric Garcetti: (36:48)
There are a number of employers that already give this kind of paid leave and they said, “Oh, if I’m doing, if I already give 30 days of paid leave, does this mean I have to do two more weeks on top of that?” And I think all of us agreed, of course not. Those have been good actors and who already provide this for their employees. They shouldn’t be cut out.
Eric Garcetti: (37:05)
There’s other things as well with some industries that are really on a razor’s edge that have made it clear, not only would they not be able to give this to anybody, they would go out of business. And so we’ve clarified that it’s for folks that are 500 employees and larger who have at least 500 employees in the city of Los Angeles or above a certain number of total employees nationwide.
Eric Garcetti: (37:27)
Some of it is just the fine tuning of that. I think we’ve all agreed that those are necessary. And the easiest way since the council couldn’t take that up, given the Brown Act requirements quickly, I’m putting that into an order and then we will make those things harmonious together. Do you have follow up on that or is that clear? Okay, thank you. Next question.
Speaker 3: (37:47)
Speaker 4: (37:47)
Hi there. Good evening.
Eric Garcetti: (37:47)
How you doing?
Speaker 4: (37:52)
I want to ask about homeless in [inaudible 00:37:56]. I took a drive around the last couple of days and I’m noticing there’s still the three that I noticed in the Valley, in San Fernando Valley, are still have large groups of homeless folks altogether. And I’m wondering if you’re having a success reaching out to the people because it seems as though that they sort of become isolated from what’s going on.
Speaker 4: (38:19)
But also the [inaudible 00:38:25] I mean he talked to you by [inaudible 00:38:26] people. The other question was about the bus drivers. We’re being told by some of the bus drivers, we interviewed two bus drivers who said that they are really in fear for their safety and their health because of not getting enough protective equipment and protective gear. Can you tell us what’s being done with mass transit to help keep people safe?
Eric Garcetti: (38:48)
Absolutely. Let me start with that and I want to thank our bus drivers, our train operators who are doing incredible and heroic work. I stopped in at a safe distance with my mask on and his mask on. I was talking to a bus driver on the street on the way to work yesterday. They’re proud of what they’re doing. There’s an amazing video I think that Metro put out the chose heroes don’t just wear surgical masks in an operating room. They sometimes drive the bus and take those hospital workers there, take people who are feeling sick to a hospital because that’s the only transportation that they have.
Eric Garcetti: (39:17)
We’ve enacted a number of things, and at Metro there is personal protective equipment. I know there’s worries of some whether there’ll be enough. That’s exactly why we have Jean Sirocco doing what he’s doing. This isn’t just for city workers. This is for public employees, for our medical workers, for folks that are working in our shelters and other places that are vulnerable to make sure everybody has a steady supply throughout this. We will not leave our bus drivers behind. We will not leave our train operators behind and those folks that are out there cleaning the stations, cleaning the equipment each night are also our heroes too. Those people are doing critical, critical work, so we feel confident we’ll be able to get that equipment for them in future days that we have it now and that we’re being smart about rear boarding and things like that.
Eric Garcetti: (39:57)
We will not cut off public transportation. It’s too critical for people who need their medicine, who need to go to the store and who need to work as critical workers, but we have also downsized the number of trips that are taken, the hours so that we’re allowing more of those workers to work fewer hours, which also helps protect them from any dangers that they have.
Eric Garcetti: (40:18)
In terms of the first one, the homeless in [inaudible 00:06:19]. As you know, this is county-wide, 60,000 plus people, so of course this isn’t, again, one of those things you snap your finger and it’s done right away. But yes, we’re getting very good results. Every shelter that we open is 95% filled within a day or two. The first couple of days there was hesitation. Now people are really coming in. One man who said, “This has been better than anything I’ve seen. I’m someplace safe. I know that I’m protected. I get my temperature checked twice a day. There’s food. I know that there’s somebody here who is a medical professional.” And where we found anybody who’s tested positive, we’re able to immediately put them someplace with medical attention that’s secure and isolated and quarantined. That wouldn’t happen on the street.
Eric Garcetti: (40:59)
But the real solution to this is going to be even as we’ve opened now, 20 shelters and four more open this weekend, is going to be these hotel and motel rooms and we have simply got to go quicker.
Eric Garcetti: (41:10)
I think the state is well intentioned, the county’s well intentioned, loss is well intentioned, the cities are well intentioned and many of the hotel and motel operators are well intentioned. But if it requires a more aggressive stance and requires some of the emergency powers I have to commandeer those rooms, we need to get people into those thousands of rooms today. So I would encourage any of the hotel and motel operators to continue helping us.
Eric Garcetti: (41:34)
There were 900 rooms last week. We’re probably over 1,000 now, but those are the ones that will help quarantine people who are positive, who are on the streets and also take people to a safe location who are at a risk of getting Coronavirus, the novel coronavirus. So both of those are going to be just a giant lift.
Eric Garcetti: (41:54)
And one last point I’ll make is I certainly hope after I called for a FEMA like response to homelessness over 18 months ago and now because of this crisis, we’re finally getting it. Our federal government thank you for the first time is letting us pay for and get reimbursed for putting people in hotel rooms on the streets before the crisis hits them and before they are positive. We need to make sure that that federal assistance helps us make exits from our shelters and from our hotel rooms to housing so that these folks don’t just go back to the street. Because while we are looking at statistics that maybe that number of deaths could have doubled in this crisis, I think we won’t get that high, we could have doubled for all of us this year.
Eric Garcetti: (42:31)
Living on the street, you already have a double chance of dying and if we’re not looking at that as a public health crisis and not bringing the resources after we get through this one to our unhoused brothers and sisters on the street, we will have failed to take advantage of this moment and to do what’s right. So I’m hoping that we will see that kind of support. Next question. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (42:54)
Question comes from Claudia [inaudible 00:08:56].
Eric Garcetti: (43:00)
Hi. I think you touched upon this in your last answer, but there’s a delay on live stream so I missed some of it. But we keep seeing reports on people including Judge Carter that hand-washing stations don’t have soap or water. There’s a [inaudible 00:43:19] concern for that outbreak on skid row. There’s been a growing number of positive cases among homeless people. And I know that there [inaudible 00:43:26] hotels and motels and that they’re opening emergency shelters, but we don’t know that don’t know [inaudible 00:43:30] enough rooms or beds. You’ve got tens of thousands of people on the streets. So if there is a big outbreak on skid row, worst case scenario, what is the plan? What actually can you immediately [inaudible 00:43:46] to get large numbers of people off the streets?
Eric Garcetti: (43:50)
The more beds that we have, the more that we can do that. And I think there are actually plenty of rooms. We have tens of thousands of rooms in our hotel and motel inventory across this county. The goal that [LASA 00:44:03] set and that we’ve support as well is 15,000. That would be unprecedented. And we’re spending 18 months to build 2,000 new shelter beds and that was the fastest pace in the nation. Imagine doing 15,000 hotel and motel rooms in just a matter of weeks.
Eric Garcetti: (44:18)
That’s the stretch goal. I believe that it can be done, but we need everybody to be aligned and we need almost a czar who is making these deals every single hour to ensure that they’re there. That said, for skid row, absolutely. We’ve been looking at this from the beginning. The convention center is available. We have the 250 kind of field hospital, 250 bed field hospital that’ll be there, but we have another hall that we absolutely could move people to. And I’m looking for more hotels and motels near skid row in the downtown area.
Eric Garcetti: (44:45)
We’re hopeful. We’ve had a lot of people reach out. A 600 person bed hotel reached out today to us about that saying that they’d like to help out in the short-term and maybe even the long-term. So I do think that the inventory is there. This really requires faster signing of this from the state and county. We’re here to help in any way that we can, but that will be what we do.
Eric Garcetti: (45:06)
The last piece is testing. And remember, yeah, you do see some new positives. There are more people who are housed proportionally and in absolute numbers with COVID-19 than those who are unhoused. We have to continue to work with those doctors, those clinics, those places including a number on skid row. We bought tests for this area that now are in their hands this week.
Eric Garcetti: (45:28)
There’s some that were done today so that we can make sure we see what the incidence is and anybody who has symptoms we can find out whether it’s COVID-19 or something else.
Eric Garcetti: (45:37)
Bottom line is, this is an area since January that I’ve kind of been screaming for attention. I’m really glad that we’ve gotten millions of dollars from Sacramento and millions of dollars up from Washington DC. Now it’s about executing it and we’re here to help our homeless services authority do that. Thanks. Next question.
Speaker 3: (46:00)
Next question comes from [inaudible 00:46:00] David [inaudible 00:45:59].
Eric Garcetti: (46:05)
Hi Can you hear me?
Eric Garcetti: (46:06)
Yes. I can hear you great.
Great. [inaudible 00:46:07] face covering for grocery employees and customers walking around businesses. Can you talk a little bit more about [inaudible 00:46:14]. We’re wondering [inaudible 00:46:16] this, [inaudible 00:46:19] fined. What are the fines going to be for violating the order? Finally, [inaudible 00:46:24] can deny entry to a customer who walks in without a face covering, if you have so many businesses [inaudible 00:46:29] restaurants who are so hard up for revenue, is that going to be an effective way to assure the client?
Eric Garcetti: (46:36)
We think everything helps. Our idea is not to be arresting and finding people for the face coverings, just as tomorrow, if everybody decided to jaywalk across the street, we wouldn’t have close to enough law enforcement officers or city workers to stop everybody from jaywalking. So this is about self enforcement mostly.
Eric Garcetti: (46:51)
But we do have something called ACE, which is a civil citation. And if we see places in which the workers are not doing this or a worker is saying my employer simply won’t do this, those are referrals that can be made to the city and we will be able to go out there and issue citations. But 99% of this, like most of the things I’ve said, are about our own discipline and our own self enforcement. We’re not arresting people when they’re on the streets asking for their ID and saying, “Are you a critical worker or are you permitted to be outside?” We’re relying on people to use their judgment, to use their own self enforcement. And the miraculous thing that happens is when you ask people to do that, they actually do step up. We have been unafraid with businesses and others to prosecute, to be able to take folks out. But it’s graduated and we’re not going to one time because somebody isn’t doing something, go after them, fine them or throw them in jail. We’re going to help educate people, help let people know where they can get these masks, let them know about the website, let them know their rights, but also let them know their responsibilities and we hope all Angelenos will step up and be a part of that, looking at best practices around the country, that seems to be the best and the most realistic way to move forward. So we want people to abide by this, but it’s going to be up to you and 99% of the time. Thanks Dave. Next question.
Speaker 3: (48:15)
One question comes [inaudible 00:48:16] Adrian [inaudible 00:48:18].
Eric Garcetti: (48:16)
Hi Adrian. How are you?
Good evening Mayor. Just to followup on that question, with an order going into effect on Friday, [inaudible 00:48:27] any considerations to, especially outside of pharmacy, having a point of sale for face coverings so that people would be able to get them there if they didn’t have them?
Eric Garcetti: (48:38)
There’s plenty of places to get them now, whether it’s folks that you see used to sell flowers or still are selling flowers, you see them on corners right now on off ramps. You see them online and the LA Protects website that I mentioned. So that’s coronavirus.lacity.org/laprotects shows places that you can get them online today. We wanted to wait until we knew that there was capacity. We feel confident that there is capacity instead of announcing like a lot of other orders this starts tomorrow. It’s giving us a few days before it comes into effect and we think that’s the responsible way and we’re confident that people can get, in fact, even since we suggested it, just drive around the city, it was night and day. It wasn’t 100% but it was over 50% of people that I see in those environments.
Eric Garcetti: (49:18)
To be clear, because a lot of people get confused, it’s not when you’re jogging by yourself, it’s not if you’re not coming within six feet of people. It’s when we go to these environments, our grocery stores, when you might be in a taxi or ride share, when you’re at a pharmacy, construction worker or these critical places where we do come into contact with each other, that is a place where we now are telling you you have to wear and those workers must wear also a facial covering.
Eric Garcetti: (49:44)
One other note that Dr. Frere has also pointed out too though is be responsible about how you use them. Because there’s a lot of people who don’t understand. Wash them at night, don’t just put them down everywhere because you can actually pick up germs if you just put them down on surfaces when you get to work or other places. Treat them like that you need to keep them very secure and sterile as much as possible and then use them just in those environments where we’ve advised. It’s not something you have to wear all the time.
Eric Garcetti: (50:13)
I’ve seen a lot of people who are walking by themselves just in the neighborhood wearing a mask. That’s certainly fine, but it’s not something that’s mandated nor something that you need to do.
Eric Garcetti: (50:22)
And one last thing I’ll say is though we have said for folks that are using facial coverings, please don’t take those N 95 and surgical masks that we need. I do want folks to know that there are people who are immunocompromised out there of the general public who do need to wear those masks. So if you are healthy, don’t use those. But of course, if your doctor has told you to wear those, don’t go after somebody in the grocery store who’s wearing an N 95 mask and say you shouldn’t be wearing that. You don’t know whether or not they could be immunocompromised. And they’re doing that for their own protection.
Eric Garcetti: (50:55)
Thanks. Next question.
Speaker 3: (50:58)
Next question on the line is Clarice [inaudible 00:51:01].
Eric Garcetti: (51:03)
Eric Garcetti: (51:03)
[inaudible 00:51:00] Hey, Clarice.
Hi, Good Evening, Mayor.
Eric Garcetti: (51:05)
Earlier you had mentioned a very important part of this virus, in that it doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, or race, but as everyone within the Asian American community are acutely aware of at this point, the Asian community have been targeted in acts of hate from a nation related to the virus at a very alarming rate, and we know about the 211 County hotline, but are there any resources or initiatives that the city has or is organizing to help people report this activity to mitigate this uptick in anti-asian discrimination?
Eric Garcetti: (51:38)
Absolutely, and this is something I’ve mentioned in other nights, and I’m really glad you raised it again, Clarice. While this virus doesn’t discriminate, human beings still do unfortunately, and we saw this early on when people weren’t going to Asian and Pacific Islander owned businesses. We’ve seen it in hate crimes across the country. People have been beaten up, people have been yelled at. Hate crimes are hate crimes, so the biggest resource is Los Angeles police department if you’re in the city of LA. The Sheriff’s, if you’re in the County, or one of the cities that use the Sheriff’s, or your local police department. Report these crimes, because that’s what they are. They are crimes. They aren’t just discrimination, they aren’t just somebody’s ignorance. They are crimes and they have a consequence, and they also have penalties that are enhanced if another crime has been committed as well.
Eric Garcetti: (52:27)
There is no place in our city for this discrimination. I was appalled to hear some of our national leaders call this all sorts of names that I won’t repeat. This is a virus. This is a health crisis. It could have started anywhere in the world, and it doesn’t matter where it started. It matters that across the world we are all fighting this and fighting it together, and we have no place in Los Angeles for any hate, no discrimination. So please report that. Call LAPD and let them know if you have been the victim of a hate crime, and they will follow up with you with detectives and make sure that folks are brought to justice. Thank you. Next question, please.
Speaker 5: (53:05)
Next question comes from the line of Alina Selyukh with KPCC public radio. Please, go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (53:11)
Hey, Alina. Good evening.
Alina Selyukh: (53:13)
Hi, Mayor. Can you tell me what was it that shifted over to issuing the orders to wear face masks this week? [inaudible 00:53:21] For example, I know grocery store workers, many of them have been warning for weeks and weeks now.
Eric Garcetti: (53:26)
Yes, it was … Go ahead.
Alina Selyukh: (53:27)
[crosstalk 00:53:27] What made it … This week there was something done on that?
Eric Garcetti: (53:31)
Sure. So I wanted to move as quickly as possible. We were the first city in the nation to kind of push forward this advice. Many others followed, and we heard CDC finally give advice as well. So we’re proud that Los Angeles continues to lead. That was in a voluntary way, and part of the reason why I was I wanted to make sure that folks knew, educated themselves about the difference between regular medical masks and these facial coverings. We wanted to make sure there was capacity, so we’d been working for a couple of weeks.
Eric Garcetti: (53:56)
We have the confidence now that there is the capacity for anybody to get a facial covering. We worked and listened to the grocers, listened to the workers, listened to other folks about the best way to craft this so it didn’t just come down from City Hall. I always believe in bringing a coalition of folks together and listening to those concerns, and we could address everybody’s concerns together but still not move backwards and say, “This is something important.” We felt the confidence of having that today, and we wanted to give a couple of days before it becomes mandatory. Look, if you can, start this tomorrow, but starting at midnight Thursday night, Friday morning, this will now be mandatory in those situations. So it seemed like a point where we had the masks that were available, we had the education out there, and most people were already moving that way. So anything we could do to further that, a lot of people said, “Why not make it mandatory?” Tonight we are. Thanks. Next question.
Speaker 5: (54:50)
Our next question comes from [inaudible 00:54:54] with [inaudible 00:54:54].
Eric Garcetti: (55:00)
[Spanish 00:55:00], Good evening.
Speaker 6: (55:01)
[Spanish 00:55:01]. Yeah, I had two questions here. It was noted today that people who are living in wealthier communities have had better access to testing, have been tested more than people that live in lower income communities, what’s been done to remedy this? You talked about the importance of these two weeks in terms of flattening the curve. Are you satisfied with the numbers you have seen so far?
Eric Garcetti: (55:25)
So, I’ll answer both of those in English. Then as I do … and I appreciate our Spanish media doing this so that we can make sure you have a Spanish set, I’ll go to Spanish and then I’ll begin my Spanish remarks. I was hoping some questions would come for Jean. He is a wealth of information, but let me also just start again by thinking Jean, allowing him to get back to emergency operation center and the great important work that he is doing after I answer this.
Eric Garcetti: (55:48)
So in terms of the folks that are being tested that are wealthier, absolutely. That was something we saw early on. We saw the cases in wealthier communities too. Some said that maybe those communities traveled more internationally, so the spread was more accessible to them, but also these are folks who have better access to healthcare so they got through their private healthcare, and much of the testing goes still through providers. They were able to have access to testing early on when there weren’t many tests.
Eric Garcetti: (56:17)
What did we do to remedy that? Everything that I’ve talked about for the last two weeks, having public testing sites that don’t ask about your insurance, don’t ask what part of town you come from, don’t ask how much money you have in the bank account, but simply allow for free you to be tested based over the last two weeks on whether or not you had extreme symptoms, the right age, and vulnerability. Now anybody with symptoms. So I’m very proud of that that has leveled the playing field. Unfortunately, what that’s brought is now we see numbers coming up in our middle income and lower income communities because it’s more of a fair assessment.
Eric Garcetti: (56:51)
In terms of the second question, what was the second one? Could you just ask the second question one time? Sorry. Oh, wait. Am I worried about the numbers, I think it was, right?
Speaker 6: (57:00)
Are we flattening the curve?
Eric Garcetti: (57:04)
Oh, flattening the curve. Thank you. So no, I mean I’m never satisfied until we flatten the curve towards something in which we have fewer cases than we had the day before. Until we have a negative number I won’t be satisfied, but I am encouraged by all of you. I’m encouraged that we’re seeing those numbers come down. I’m encouraged that we’re seeing single digit increases where we used to see double digit increases. We’ll see what happens this week. That’s up to everyone that is watching, but where we had a 27% average increase two weeks ago per day, last week an 18% increase, which was a reduction of a third. If this week we’re in a single digits, that could be as much as cutting that in half, but any increase is still an increase.
Eric Garcetti: (57:51)
So let me try to answer that in Spanish. Thank you again to all of our English language viewers. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, and strength and love as always.