Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa City–County Health Department, has confirmed that the rally President Donald Trump held in the city last month contributed to a surge of coronavirus cases. On Monday, there were 261 cases, the highest the county has seen since the crisis began.
“Right now we do have the highest number of cases [in Oklahoma],” Dart said. “We’ve had some significant events in the past few weeks that more than likely contributed to that.”
Of the Trump rally, Dart said, “The past two days we’ve had almost 500 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.”
The Trump rally responded soon after, though it blamed protesters who in recent weeks have marched against racial injustice and police brutality for the spike in cases of the virus. Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump campaign, falsely claimed that Black Lives Matter protesters of taking “literally no health precautions” though evidence from those on the ground has shown that the majority of protesters have worn masks during demonstrations.
“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. “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.”
The rally went against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which notes that “Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area” pose the highest risk for transmitting infections.
President Trump has scheduled a rally in New Hampshire for this Saturday.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.