Tulsa health official says Trump rally “likely contributed” to surge in coronavirus cases

A senior health official in Tulsa said Wednesday that President Trump campaign rally in the city in late June, as well as the accompanying protests, “likely contributed” to an increase in coronavirus cases in the area.

“In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several big events just over two weeks ago, so I think we connected the dots,” said Tulsa County Health Department Director Bruce Dart. reporters on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Tulsa County reported 261 new confirmed cases on Monday and 206 cases on Tuesday.

At least eight advanced Trump campaign employees and two Secret Service agents who worked in Tulsa before the rally have tested positive by the virus. Although attendees were checked for temperature and provided with masks, to a large extent social distancing was not observed and the use of masks was not mandatory.

Donald Trump conducts a campaign rally in Tulsa
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the BOK Center on June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Herman Cain, 2012 presidential candidate and co-chair of the “Black Voices for Trump” coalition, spent last week at an Atlanta-area hospital after contracting the virus. The Trump campaign surrogate was photographed without a mask at the president’s rally in Tulsa.

Chief Trump campaign fundraising officer and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, canceled a series of Trump campaign fundraising events after testing positive for COVID-19 before comments from Trump at Mount Rushmore. Last month, Ms. Guilfoyle attended the President’s rally in Tulsa, as well as her official White House remarks at another COVID-19 access point, Phoenix.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Wednesday that “she has no data to indicate” that the demonstration led to an increase in coronavirus cases. McEnany also noted that masks were distributed at the rally.

“We deliver them, they are delivered by the campaign, rather, at these events, and there is ample hand sanitizer and it is people’s individual choice whether to go,” he said.

In a statement, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh criticized the media for reporting a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found that national protests against police brutality and racial violence did not they had caused an increase in cases.

“There were literally no health precautions to speak of, as thousands of people looted, mutinied, and protested in the streets and the media reported that it did not lead to an increase in coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, the president’s rally was 18 years ago. days, all attendees had their temperature checked, everyone received a mask and there was enough hand sanitizer available to everyone. It is obvious that the media concern about the large gatherings begins and ends with the Trump protests, “Murtaugh said.

Mr. Trump will hold a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Saturday at an outdoor venue. According to a statement released by the Trump campaign, the outdoor event will feature “wide access to hand sanitizer” and all attendees “will receive a face mask that they are recommended to wear.” New Hampshire does not have a state mandate that requires masks, but the president’s reelection team will require all campaign staff to wear masks inside the Portsmouth rally on Saturday night.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told reporters on Tuesday that he plans to wear a mask while greeting the President on Saturday. “We hear from the Trump campaign that they will be there wearing masks,” he added.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. exceeded 3 million Wednesday, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. The virus has killed more than 131,000 people across the country.


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