Los Angeles mayor says coronavirus will likely halt sporting events with crowds until 2021

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said Wednesday that mass gathering such as sporting events and concerts will likely remain canceled for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking on CNN, Garcetti confirmed an earlier report that he was considering barring such gatherings for at least one year. The mayor said it's "difficult to imaging us getting together in the thousands anytime soon" and the city should prepare for an extended ban on such crowded events.

"I think we should be prepared for that this year," Garcetti said. "I think we all never wanted science to work so quickly. But until there’s a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention or herd immunity, the science is the science, and public health officials have been very clear. We’ve got many miles to walk before we’re going to be back in those environments."

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Garcetti suggested that sporting events and concerts without crowds could be a possibility in the months ahead. But he emphasized that it would be "very difficult to see" packing thousands of people into a stadium before 2021.

"Nothing I’ve heard would indicate that we’ll been in large thousands of people gatherings anytime soon and probably not for the rest of this year," he added. 

The U.S. has reported more than 630,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and roughly 27,900 deaths caused by it as of Wednesday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The outbreak led major sporting leagues last month to cancel their seasons and a broad range of musicians to postpone tours.

President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE late last week began more aggressively pushing for reopening portions of the economy, as signs show some areas are passing the peak of the outbreak.

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Still, health officials have insisted that more comprehensive testing and contact-tracing must be in place before states and cities lift social distancing requirements. 

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciStudy: Omicron could be more transmissible due to sharing genetic material with common cold Sunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant Three omicron cases of COVID-19 identified in Maryland: Gov. Hogan MORE, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Tuesday that pro sports could return this summer as long as fans were restricted from attending.

"There's a way of doing that," Fauci said in an interview with Snapchat's Peter Hamby. "Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. ... Have them tested every single week and make sure they don't wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out."