Lincoln mayor discusses reopening, case surge, and economy in ABC News interview

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird appeared on ABC's Pandemic: What You Need To Know on Thursday to discuss the city and state's response to COVID-19. 

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird appeared on ABC’s Pandemic: What You Need To Know on Thursday to discuss the city and state’s response to COVID-19.

You can read a transcript of her interview with ABC’s Amy Robach below.

Are you expecting cases there to continue to rise and how do you keep it from spiking?

“Yes, we are still moving through our surge of cases here in Nebraska. We expect that to continue through the end of April and into early May, but we credit our people for helping us to flatten the curve. People in Lincoln, Nebraska took this very seriously very early on and we are seeing just a small number of cases each day. We are trying to safely surge here in Nebraska.”

Do you have a timeline for easing restrictions there in Lincoln?

“We’re evaluating that right now because – unlike other states – we haven’t actually closed many businesses, though many did voluntarily. As I said, many people took this seriously whether it was residents or employers. We’ll be looking at the number of cases, our hospital capacity, and of course our public health infrastructure and evaluating whether we can continue to keep some of these measures in place and how we can reopen our economy in a safe way.”

Nebraska is seeing an increase in cases in meat packing plants – is that having an impact on how you’re battling the virus there?

“In Lincoln it is not, but we of course know that we are all connected by this virus. So if an outbreak at a meatpacking plant somewhere in Nebraska happens we’re paying close attention. Our public health officials are coordinating with those health officials, because we want to keep everyone in Nebraska safe. We want our hospitals to be able to extend care to those individuals if need be.”

How are you helping your city cope with the stress of this pandemic?

“We know that moments of crisis can potentially bring out the best in people, and that’s what we’re focused on. We’re focused on tapping into peoples’ compassion and trying to build connections between our residents that will
last beyond this pandemic. We actually launched a program called NeighborLNK here in Lincoln to connect volunteers with our home-bound seniors or folks with disabilities who may need a helping hand right now or even
just the chance to have a phone call or video chat with some personal connection and companionship.”

Are you concerned about what happens next with the University of Nebraska there and other schools in Lincoln?

“We miss our students and we want to get back to cheering on our championship volleyball team and our football team. And also, as a city, like many mayors across the country I’m worried about the revenue we’re potentially losing if our universities remain in a different form of online learning. We are counting on those revenues to provide important, essential city services to protect our residents and continue to protect our public health. So we are
of course concerned and looking to the federal government for support during this time.”



Categories: Coronavirus, News