LAS VEGAS could be a "control group" to test the end of coronavirus lockdown restrictions around the US, its mayor said Wednesday.
In a controversial CNN interview, Mayor Carolyn Goodman said Wednesday she wants to get Sin City back up and running – and even offered up her city as a "control group" in easing nationwide lockdown restrictions.
"I want us to open up the city of Las Vegas so our people can go back to work and that's it because we're putting children and families back out on the street," Goodman told host Anderson Cooper.
Although the nearly 150 people who have died from the coronavirus in Vegas is a "tragic loss", she compared the deaths to the state's two million residents.
"You have to say, we have to open up," said Goodman.
When Cooper argued that her state's death toll was so low because of social distancing, the mayor revealed she had offered up her city as a control group.
"How do you know until we have a control group?" she retorted.
"We offered to be a control group…it was turned down."
A city statistician told Goodman it couldn't be done because "people from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city," she said.
"Doesn't that sound like a virus Petri dish?" Cooper asked.
"It sounds like you're being alarmist," replied Goodman, who cited her experience growing up in New York City and "long life" for her train of thought.
Goodman said she loved watching Vegas residents be "careful" during the pandemic, prompting Cooper to remove his glasses, rub his eyes, and sigh.
Although the mayor suggested reopening businesses in her city, she gave no guidelines as to how they should handle mitigation measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"That's up to them to figure out. I don't own a casino," she added.
Las Vegas casino workers pushed back against Goodman's comments on Wednesday, arguing that they wouldn't feel comfortable returning to work without strict safety measures.
"We're not test subjects. We're people. We are employees," Alexander Acosta, a bartender with the Caesar Forum Conference Center, told NBC News.
More than 170 people have died from the coronavirus in Nevada, while more than 46,700 Americans have succumbed to the killer bug overall.
Despite the mayor's calls to reopen her city, Goodman has no power over the state of Nevada – only Gov. Steve Sisolak has the power to end the statewide lockdown.
Sisolak said last week any changes would be gradual and insisted he wouldn't cave to pressure from critics demanding the reopening of casinos and other nonessential businesses.
The state "will reopen when the time is right. It's not as easy as flipping a switch," he said Thursday.
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