President Donald Trump is set to hold his first rally on Saturday after a months long pandemic-induced hiatus.
Thousands are expected to attend and—according to the Trump campaign—over a million reservations have been made for the night's festivities.
The controversial decision to pack thousands of people into an indoor space for hours comes as virus cases in Ohio are spiking, with two consecutive days of record breaking new case numbers.
Trump's insistence on holding a rally is in line with repeated dismissals from him and his administration regarding the threat posed by the virus, but experts are warning against it. Tulsa's Republican Mayor said he had no intentions of attending and couldn't promise the safety of attendees. Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most trusted White House officials when it comes to the pandemic, warned of the risk factors in attending.
And now, a conservative emergency room doctor on the ground in Tulsa is warning that attending would be a "terrible idea."
In an op-ed for the Tulsa World, Dr. Samantha Whiteside writes:
"While I understand that sheltering in place indefinitely and shutting down the economy for months is unrealistic, holding a large indoor rally, where people are shoulder-to-shoulder, as described by President Trump's own campaign team, seems short-sighted at best and reckless and dangerous at worst.
She went on to warn that contraction is an inevitability.
"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 [the virus] back to their local communities."
People praised her for attempting to sound the alarm.
One of the chief critiques of Donald Trump's virus response has been the politicization he's imposed on safety. Governors who heeded the advice of health officials and shut down non-essential businesses were deemed by him and his supporters as too liberal and their cities—according to Trump—needed liberation. Americans who wore facial coverings—as Trump's own administration recommended—were deemed by some conservatives as overly cautious sheep.
Numerous Republican lawmakers have advanced the false idea that precautions in response to the virus are an insidious plot to destroy the economy and dash Trump's reelection chances.
So politicized has the very health of Americans gotten, Whiteside felt the need to stress her conservatism to indicate that her opposition was only out of concern for health:
"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. For me, it doesn't matter if the rally is for a Republican, Democrat or Queen Elizabeth herself. It's a terrible idea."
People warned that even this qualifier wouldn't save her from his supporters' detractions.
Oklahoma broke its record for new cases again today.