Health Official: Trump Rally 'Likely' a Factor in COVID Surge

Tulsa has seen a dramatic increase in new COVID cases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 9, 2020 12:20 AM CDT
Tulsa's Virus Cases Have Surged. Trump Rally 'Likely' a Cause
In this Saturday, June 20, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at BOK Center during his rally in Tulsa, Okla.   (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP, File)

President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of participants and large protests "likely contributed" to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday. Tulsa County reported 261 confirmed new cases on Monday, a one-day record high, and another 206 cases on Tuesday. By comparison, during the week before the June 20 Trump rally, there were 76 cases on Monday and 96 on Tuesday, the AP reports. Although the health department’s policy is to not publicly identify individual settings where people may have contracted the virus, Dart said those large gatherings “more than likely" contributed to the spike. “In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots," Dart said.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the campaign went to great lengths to ensure that those who attended the rally, about 6,200 people in a 19,000-seat arena, were protected. “There were literally no health precautions to speak of as thousands looted, rioted, and protested in the streets and the media reported that it did not lead to a rise in coronavirus cases," Murtaugh said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the President’s rally was 18 days ago, all attendees had their temperature checked, everyone was provided a mask, and there was plenty of hand sanitizer available for all. It’s obvious that the media’s concern about large gatherings begins and ends with Trump rallies." Although masks were provided to rally goers, there was no requirement that participants wear them, and most didn't.

(More coronavirus stories.)

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