Las Vegas Mayor Faces Backlash After Offering City As 'Control Group' to Test Reopening

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has come under fire after apparently offering her city to "be a control group" by abandoning preventative restrictions and reopening amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Goodman made the offer Wednesday during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. The mayor said she wanted casinos and other crowded areas to go back into business despite public health concerns, noting that the city had only seen 150 deaths from the virus, out of a total population of 2.3 million. Cooper asked her if the relatively low death rate might have been due to people staying at home and following guidelines.

"How do you know until you have a control group? We offer to be a control group," Goodman responded.

Cooper appeared to be taken aback by her response and pressed the mayor, asking if she was volunteering Las Vegas residents to be a control group to see if her "theory on social distancing works or doesn't work."

"What I said was I offered to be a control group and I was told by our statistician 'you can't do that,'" said Goodman. "And I said 'oh, that's too bad,' because I know when you have a disease you have a placebo that gets the water and the sugar and then you have those that actually get the shot. We would love to be that placebo."

Goodman said Cooper was an "alarmist" for suggesting that the crowded environments of casinos could be like a "petri dish" for the virus to spread.

Carolyn Goodman
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told CNN's Anderson Cooper that safety issues were not her responsibility but insisted that the city's busy casinos should reopen despite public health concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Ethan Miller/Getty

The mayor also said that she believes she may have contracted Covid-19 in January and had offered to donate her plasma at a hospital to help people who are currently infected with the disease. She did not offer any additional details or information about whether or not she had been tested for the virus.

During a Tuesday night appearance on MSNBC, she said she was "making the assumption that everybody is a carrier" but that it was time to "move forward" by opening up the city, despite the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus.

Newsweek reached out to Goodman's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The interview quickly went viral and reaction on social media was swift and harsh, with a number of prominent figures blasting the mayor for her comments.

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, a Las Vegas native, said that the mayor was "dangerously misguided," while describing the interview as "bonkers" and calling for her resignation in multiple tweets.

"The @mayoroflasvegas Carolyn Goodman should resign before lunch arrives today," Kimmel tweeted. "She is an embarrassment to my hometown."

Professional poker player Daniel Negreanu said that the mayor had "embarrassed herself" and suggested that her political career may have been damaged beyond repair.

"Anderson Cooper may have just ended her career," tweeted Negreanu. "I couldn't imagine a public official coming off worse in an interview. There should be a mercy rule. Stop the fight!"

Filmmaker and comedian Judd Apatow suggested that Goodman's actions could lead to death, while sharing a video clip of the interview where the mayor insisted that strategies for safely reopening casinos was not her responsibility, but something the casinos should "figure out."

"Wow— the Mayor of Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman is a dangerous fool," Apatow tweeted. "Watch this and always remember how important your vote is. There are some really stupid people out there who can end your life."