Recovered from COVID-19, Mayor Garcetti scheduled to return to L.A. on Tuesday

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, shown in April 2020, will be returning to L.A. after having to quarantine with COVID-19 at a hotel in Glasgow, Scotland.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, recovered from a bout of COVID-19, landed Sunday in Washington, D.C., where he plans to join President Biden at a signing ceremony for the administration’s infrastructure bill before returning to Los Angeles on Tuesday, a mayoral spokesman said.

Garcetti, who is fully vaccinated, had been in Glasgow, Scotland, attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference, when he tested positive for a breakthrough infection. Garcetti had a fever and symptoms of a head cold and isolated in a Glasgow hotel room, he told his staff.

Biden plans to be joined Monday by governors, mayors, and labor union and business leaders for the bill-signing ceremony, according to his office.


The mayor has also traveled to Washington in recent months for events related to his nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to India, and he is expected to return for more meetings.

The White House officially nominated Garcetti in July, but it remains unclear when the Senate will take up his nomination. The slow pace is a signal to some that the mayor’s confirmation isn’t as much of a priority as getting other nominees approved.

The COVID-19 diagnosis derailed the latter part of his trip to the climate conference, but the mayor continued to work on city matters while quarantined abroad at a hotel, his office said when the diagnosis was announced Nov. 3.

Garcetti had told his staff in an email that he developed a fever and had symptoms of a head cold.

“As some of you who have gotten COVID know, this is a beast of a virus, but I am feeling pretty good — just some fever and head cold symptoms for now, probably a reflection of the strength of the vaccine I got earlier this year,” wrote Garcetti, who has been a strong proponent of vaccination.

Garcetti had been taking rapid antigen tests daily while at the conference, which all came back negative. He took a PCR test Nov. 2 in preparation for his return home. The test came back positive the next day, delaying his intended Nov. 4 departure.


Up to that point, Garcetti had spoken about local climate action in front of the World Leaders Summit at the conference, according to schedules released by his office. He was unable to moderate a panel “on international finance to support city climate action” or to participate in another discussion regarding solutions and challenges in tackling climate change.

A Times reporter at the conference described the indoor venue as crammed with people from around the world, noting that physical distancing was often impossible.

Garcetti, 50, received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January and his second dose in February. He plans to get a booster “as soon as it’s recommended he do so,” a spokesperson said. Garcetti’s young daughter tested positive for the coronavirus in December. Neither she nor Garcetti’s wife, Amy Wakeland, was with him on the trip.

Garcetti’s positive test comes as many city employees in L.A. fight a new city rule requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus and have symptoms isolate from others for at least 10 days after signs of illness first appear. Individuals also shouldn’t be around others until they are free of fever for at least 24 hours without using a fever-reducing medication and show signs of improving symptoms.

Times staff writer Dakota Smith contributed to this report.