Anderson Cooper Confronts Las Vegas Mayor Over Plans to Reopen City Amid Coronavirus

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Anderson Cooper was not willing to cede any ground while talking with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Wednesday, and the confrontational interview has drawn a lot of attention.

Mayor Goodman joined Anderson Cooper 360 via video chat and spoke with the newsman about her recent call to reopen Las Vegas, despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Goodman -- who has been vocal about her opposition to the stay-at-home order issued by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak -- said her concerns revolved around the economic impact of the social distancing mandates, which included the closure of all nonessential businesses.

"I want our restaurants open, I want our small businesses open, I want our people back in employment,” Goodman said on CNN Wednesday. “We have so many families that can’t even afford to get the groceries for their family because they’ve been out of work for six weeks."

Goodman and Cooper exchanged pointed comments as the mayor made arguments against social distancing's efficacy and accused the government of having "misled Nevadans" in the past -- specifically in regard to atomic bomb testing -- and thus causing some residents to distrust officials.

Cooper, who seemed visibly irritated and frustrated, challenged Goodman directly when she attempted to dismiss information about the transmissibility of the virus according to research conducted by doctors in China.

"We’re back to China," Goodman said. "This isn’t China, this is Las Vegas, Nevada."

"Wow that's really ignorant. That’s an ignorant, ignorant statement," Cooper replied. "They’re human beings, too."

Fans -- including Jimmy Kimmel -- took to Twitter to celebrate Cooper's determined approach to grilling Goodman, and also expressed their bafflement at Goodman's arguments, which many felt were contradictory.

Later in the interview, Cooper suggested that Goodman wasn't taking medical precautions and commonly accepted scientific information into consideration when calling for Las Vegas to reopen amid a pandemic, and that her remarks might be irresponsible in regard to the safety of those who live in her state and elsewhere.

"You’re talking disease, I’m talking life, and living," Goodman said in response.

"That makes no sense,” Cooper shot back.

Cooper later interviewed Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, who was adamant that Las Vegas would not be reopening. 

“When we do it, we’re gonna do it right,” Sisolak said about when the city will reopen. “But I’m not gonna allow our workers to be put in a position where they have to decide between their job and their paycheck, and their life. That’s not a fair position to put them in, and I will not allow that to happen.”

“I’m following medical advice, and scientists, and statisticians, and they've exposed to me what we're really dealing with in terms of the metrics and having to follow a graph and the model that's been established,” the governor added. “I look at certain criteria. I look at hospitalizations as it relates to COVID-19, intensive care unit hospitalizations, ventilator usage, percent of positive tests versus tests that we've given. And they need those to have plateaued and begin the trajectory downward.”

As of Wednesday night, the United States has over 849,000 cases of COVID-19, and more then 47,600 people have died as a result of the virus. In Nevada, there have been over 4,000 cases and 172 deaths, the vast majority of which have occurred in the Las Vegas area.

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