Trump Rallies Linked to Rise in Coronavirus Cases
Trump held rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix where coronavirus cases are spiking.
The director of the Tulsa Health Department said a rise in his county’s number of coronavirus cases is likely connected to several large gatherings, including a rally President Trump held in Tulsa on June 20. Coronavirus was already spiking when Trump held the event in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a then-record 136 confirmed cases on the day of the rally.
Dr. Bruce Dart said at a press conference “in the past two days, we’ve had almost 500 new cases, and we knew we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right, so I guess we just connect the dots.”
President Trump also held a rally in Phoenix, Arizona several days after Tulsa. According to The New York Times, Arizona is the biggest hotspot for coronavirus cases in the world, with the most cases per million citizens.
At both events, rally attendees sat close together and refused to wear masks. Phoenix had implemented a mandatory mask order several days before Trump’s rally, but the mask ordinance was not enforced at Trump’s rally.
Herman Cain, a businessman who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, was hospitalized with coronavirus less than two weeks after attending Trump’s rally in Tulsa. Cain shared a picture from the event without a mask and without distancing from others.
A Vector for Disease
Political rallies, with excited participants screaming and shouting in an enclosed area for a long period of time, is a near-perfect incubator for the coronavirus.
This week, over 200 scientists signed a letter to international health authorities pleading for attention toward how the disease can spread through the air. The scientists argue coronavirus can be spread further distances through droplets.
Events outside present a lower risk, but the CDC and WHO have begun reviewing their advice as proper ventilation is becoming an important factor to emphasize.
Trump’s rallies combined indoor events with a lack of social distancing and mask-wearing, worrying many observers before the rallies took place that they would directly increase the number of coronavirus cases. Studies have shown that masks greatly reduce the transmission of the disease and new research has found that wearing a mask can also reduce your risk of contracting the disease by 65%.
Trump has been criticized for his lack of clear messaging on wearing a mask, but he seemed to reverse course at the beginning of July when he said, “I’m all for masks. I think masks are good.” However, Trump still does not wear a mask in public and a White House adviser said there was no point in the President wearing a mask due to the amount of testing at the White House.
While the Tulsa Health Department left some room for interpretation, Trump’s decision to hold the rallies feeds into the mixed messaging many Americans are receiving from the White House.
As coronavirus cases spike in dozens of states, Americans many Americans were urged to stay at home over the holiday weekend. Trump held an Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore over the holiday weekend with Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend noticeably absent after contracting coronavirus.
With reports of hospitals reaching capacity due to coronavirus cases, many Republicans have moved the goalposts and said the lower death toll than the initial peak as a positive sign. In the last two days, the US reported nearly 2,000 deaths linked to coronavirus, returning to numbers seen in early June.
Anthony Fauci said, “it’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death” from coronavirus in the United States. Despite some improvements in treatment, the death rate lags behind the increase in cases by several weeks with some patients passing away months after contracting the virus.