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MSNBC anchor Katy Tur tells Las Vegas mayor she's calling for 'modern-day survival of the fittest'

MSNBC anchor Katy Tur pressed Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman Tuesday over her criticism of Nevada's coronavirus-induced shutdown, at one point suggesting that Goodman was promoting a Darwinian "survival of the fittest" scenario in her city.

Goodman has called for the reopening of Sin City's economy, arguing that businesses would fail if they didn't adhere to good "hygiene" during the pandemic.

"Let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business," she said. "If, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.

"We inspect all the time. We license all of the time. We have things in place to make sure that the hygiene’s there," Goodman added. "We have people that go into restaurants to examine, see if they’re clean. And that’s why the hotels are so successful here in the restaurants, because they have absolutely adhered to hygiene and good hygiene."

Goodman appeared on the cable network Tuesday hours after Diamond Resorts founder and former CEO Stephen Cloobeck blasted her criticism of the shutdown as "utter bulls--t."

"My whole opinion is get our people back to work," Goodman told Tur.

Tur responded: "If you assume everybody's an asymptomatic carrier -- Vegas runs on crowds, they run on crowds in small spaces, interacting with each other, using slot machines, touching the same things, breathing the same filtered air through the casino ... How do you keep people safe? Do you think it's possible?"

Goodman said it was "absolutely" possible, arguing that the city had rapidly expanded despite viral outbreaks of West Nile virus  bird flu, and SARS.

"They were not as contagious," Tur interjected, "and they did not spread as far as this disease has already done."

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"Well, we'll find out the facts afterwards," Goodman responded. Tur fired back by pointing to the number of deaths in the U.S. caused by coronavirus, saying, "Those are the facts."

"Well, assuming that you are correct," Goodman said, "it is -- it's the masks perhaps but we do deal in crowds and we have lived through all of these other ... highly contagious diseases and yet we have managed to continue to have wonderful conventions come up here and be a center for a now-growing --"

Tur interrupted her, saying there was "no assuming that I'm correct. Those are the numbers that are released by the federal government."

When Goodman cited a relatively low death rate for Nevada, Tur asked whether that was due to casinos and businesses closing.

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Goodman responded by indicating Tur would need a control group to make that determination statistically.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said last week any changes would be incremental and insisted he would not bow to pressure from critics demanding the reopening of casinos and other businesses for short-term economic gain.

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“I’m putting the lives of my fellow Nevadans ahead of dollars,” said Sisolak, who added Thursday that the state "will reopen when the time is right. It's not as easy as flipping a switch."

Goodman was just the latest elected official to express frustration over the coronavirus' impact on the economy. President Trump has also raised concerns about the virus while Americans around the nation have participated in protests to lift pandemic-related restrictions impacting businesses.

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