Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Despite Online Petition to Delay LA Marathon, Race Officials and Authorities Say the Race Will Go Sunday

Declarations of a local public health emergency aside, crowds will gather for annual footrace Sunday

 

File photo

A crowd of spectators watch the finish of the 2019 LA Marathon. Crowds this year face a fatal infectious disease as people gather from around the world.

Despite declaration of a local public health emergency, crowds will gather for the annual Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday March 8, 2020. "The marathon will go forward because there is no reason for it not to go forward," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters Friday.

“We are not currently recommending the suspension of any large public events, including the L.A. Marathon,” Barbara Ferrer, director of LA County Public Health Department, said in a statement Thursday. “The public can continue to enjoy all that L.A. County has to offer, including this historic event.”

Ferrer adds that those concerned about the Coronavirus may want to wear masks and stay at least 3 feet away from other runners. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, and try to avoid people who are coughing, sneezing or sick.

Tens of thousands of people from around the world attend the annual Los Angeles Marathon. But this year, participants and spectators face a fatal infection disease as people gather from around the world in the middle of a major pandemic.

The South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin has been cancelled this year, as has the annual car show in Las Vegas. Many other events have been postponed or cancelled. Given all the cancellations, some wonder why the marathon is going forward.

One man posted the following on Twitter: "Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: Petition to Postpone 2020 Los Angeles Marathon March 8 Due to Coronavirus Concerns - Sign the Petition! #LAmarathon #COVID-19 http://chng.it/jQLZ2MDJ via @Change."

KNX 1070's Brian Ping posted: "An LA Marathon spokesman tells me there is *no* outright ban this Sunday on runners from coronavirus-affected countries including China, Taiwan, S Korea, Iran and Italy. They're being given the option of automatic spots in next year's race. @KNX1070 #LAMarathon #coronavirus"

As of 6 March 2020, more than 101,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide; more than 79% of them have been in mainland China.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. exceed 100, including repatriated citizens from Italy, Wuhan or the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.

On February 25, the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, declared a state of emergency that would allow city officials to assemble resources and personnel to expedite emergency measures in the event of a potential coronavirus case in the city

On February 26, Orange County declared a local health emergency to raise awareness and accelerate emergency planning.

File photo

Runners finishing the 2019 LA Marathon. Crowds this year face a fatal infectious disease as people gather from around the world.

On February 27, Solano County declared a local health emergency to bolster response to COVID-19 cases.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that, as of February 27, the number of people being monitored for the virus in California amounted to 8,400. The same day, "Newsom said the state was limited in how many people it could test because it only had 200 testing kits."

U.S. health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are urging local governments, businesses, and schools to develop plans like canceling mass gatherings or switching to teleworking so as to be ready when the need arises.

But the race will go on, as of Friday night. We will update this column if anything changes. Personally, this seems to me a test of whether or not local authorities are serious about their "state of emergency," or they just want to look serious on TV.

 

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