In an editorial for Tulsa World, Dr. Samantha Whiteside, an emergency physician shared her “great concerns about the ramifications of the planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump on Saturday.”
“COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County have risen sharply the past week. In the past seven days, the number of new cases in Tulsa County has reached an all-time high four times,” Dr. Whiteside writes. She goes on to cite Dr. Bruce Dart, the city’s health department director, who reported earlier this week “that the positive rate by our Health Department has spiked to 15%, suggesting the increase in positive cases is not solely due to increased testing.”
Dr. Whiteside also cites reports from her colleagues, who’ve seen more and more positive cases of the novel coronavirus, pointing out that hospitalization rates are increasing.
“The personal protective equipment shortage has improved but still persists. Health care workers in hospitals across Tulsa hospitals continue to be forced to reuse N95 masks that were intended for single use, and never reused until this pandemic began,” she says. “Many times as I replace the used mask on my face I fret I have accidentally contaminated myself, adding another worry to an already stressful time.”
She goes on to criticize the president’s decision to hold a “large indoor rally,” calling it “short-sighted at best and reckless and dangerous at worst.”
“It is not a question of whether someone who attends will be infected, but rather how many and how great the toll will be on our community and local hospitals, and how many attendees will carry COVID-19 back to their local communities,” she writes. “As a physician, my oath is to do no harm, and to sit silently on this matter feels wrong. I was raised in a conservative, pro-life, Southern Baptist household and continue to have these values today with my own family.”
“It’s not about President Trump,” she concludes. “For me, it doesn’t matter if the rally is for a Republican, Democrat or Queen Elizabeth herself. It’s a terrible idea.”
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has pushed back against criticism of the president’s decision.
“As in any event you assume a personal risk. That is just what you do. When you go to a baseball game, you assume a risk. That’s part of life. It’s a personal decision of Americans as to whether to go to the rally or whether not to go to the rally,” McEnany said. She added that the Trump campaign is providing masks and hand sanitizer to those who attend.