Holed up in Scotland where he is is quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was in good spirits hours after the result was made public on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling great,” he said in an interview from his hotel room.
But even as Garcetti didn’t appear to be experiencing symptoms, he may end up having to stay in the country an extra nine days in isolation — consistent with local COVID-19 protocols — unless the result turns out to be a false positive.
“I hope it’s either a false positive or, because I’ve been doubly vaccinated, that the symptoms are very, very mild,” he told KTLA.
The mayor noted that two antigen tests he took Wednesday morning were both negative.
“But at the same time, PCR tests are sensitive, they pick it up first, even before you’re contagious,” he added.
Garcetti’s positive test occurred Tuesday, but he is due to take another one tomorrow morning. If that one also comes back positive, the mayor says he’s prepared to work some long days in Glasgow, where he participated in the U.N. climate summit.
The event drew world leaders and thousands of attendees from around the globe.
About 25,000 people picked up badges at the summit, Laura Lopez, conference affairs director for the summit, said before news of Garcetti’s positive test. Of them, 97% have been vaccinated.
There had been roughly eight COVID cases, including one U.N. employee, Lopez added.
Garcetti told KTLA that, to his knowledge, no one he’s come into contact with has tested positive for the virus.
“I can’t speak for the entire conference … I’m the only one that I know of, and I hope that it stays that way,” the mayor said. “But it is a reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet.”
The climate summit is taking place at a time of very high coronavirus rates in the United Kingdom, with Britain’s government recording 33,865 infections and 293 deaths on Tuesday — the highest daily death figure since February.
The conference’s United Nations organizers laid down rigid rules to guard against transmission, including requiring each attendee to wear a mask and show daily proof of a negative result to enter the venue each morning.
And while Scotland is seeing an uptick in its COVID numbers, Garcetti expressed optimism that L.A., with its high vaccination rate, would fare better than it did last winter, when a wave of infections threatened to overwhelm local hospitals and morgues.
“Thanks to the good work of so many people who have gotten vaccinated and what we did this past year, we don’t expect it to be as deadly and difficult as December and January were 12 months ago,” he said.
L.A. County on Tuesday reported 896 new cases and 17 more deaths, with 659 people hospitalized due to the virus.
So far, the county has administered more than 13 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 7 million residents ages 12 and older having receiving at least one shot — including 6.3 million who are fully vaccinated.
“I hope that people see the proof that you you need to get vaccinated,” Garcetti said. “Even if you have a breakthrough case, it’s going to be much less severe, much less chance of being hospitalized or dying. And that let’s keep moving those numbers up so we can open up our economy and get back to work.”