In one sense Trump’s plan to change his rally in Tulsa, Okla. to Saturday, June 20, in order to avoid infringing on Juneteenth may be cheered by African Americans, but that doesn’t spare the expected turnout endangered by the increasing cases of COVID-19.
On Monday, it was reported that Tulsa had tallied nearly 90 new cases, which is a new high for the city since the pandemic erupted. If the rally reaches super proportions in attendance the number of cases will rise exponentially. It’s a situation that doesn’t seem to bother Trump or his campaign team.
Moreover, those who attend must sign a waiver that they will not sue if they are infected by the disease.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said that the virus “will be present at the event—someone will bring it. The COVID virus knows no political affiliation. What it does love is large groups, indoors, close to each other for prolonged periods of time chanting and yelling.”
Despite a 182% increase of active virus cases from 188 to 532 in a one-week period with a doubling of hospitalizations, Trump appears oblivious to the warnings.
Trump tweeted that his rally was being criticized unjustly and the media was “trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies,” while saying nothing about the large demonstrations across the nation in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd.
Oklahoma officials are not only worried by the state’s own number of cases, but there will be a large contingent of visitors from other states, including nearby Texas that has also experienced a spike in new COVID-19 cases.
Trump’s rally, said Bruce Dart, the executive director of the Tulsa Health department, is “the perfect storm of potential over-the-top transmission.” Hoping to stem the spread of the virus, the Trump team has announced that it will be distributing masks and hand sanitizer.