LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Defends Maskless Photo With Magic Johnson: ‘I Hold My Breath’

The Democratic mayor responded to backlash over the NFC Championship game photo, claiming there was “a zero percent chance of infection" from COVID-19.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) defended himself from criticism for flouting COVID safety protocols by posing maskless for a photo with NBA legend Magic Johnson during the NFC Championship game over the weekend. He said he held his breath, so there was “a zero percent chance of infection.”

“I wore my mask for the entire game. When people ask for a photograph, I hold my breath and I put it (the mask) here and people can see that,” Garcetti, who is President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to India, told reporters on Wednesday.

Watch the video here:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) drew similar criticism for removing their masks during the Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers game at the SoFi stadium.

Masks are still mandatory in Los Angeles County for “everyone 2 years of age and older” in “all indoor public places and at outdoor Mega Events, whether they have been vaccinated or not,” per Los Angeles County Public Health.

While scientists have said holding breath may reduce the risk of contracting the virus, it isn’t a fail-safe method.

Garcetti’s explanation rang hollow for some, given how it came during a news conference outside the stadium promoting coronavirus safety for next weekend’s Super Bowl between the Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.

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