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Tulsa Health Officials Say Trump Rally Last Month 'Likely Contributed' to Spike in New Virus Cases

Tulsa Health Officials Say Trump Rally Last Month 'Likely Contributed' to Spike in New Virus Cases
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Donald Trump generated controversy last month when he held what was supposed to be his comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a months-long hiatus due to the virus that's killed over 130 thousand Americans.

Despite campaign staff boasting over a million reservations, only a little over six thousand people actually showed up, prompting the cancellation of a second address Trump planned to give to the overflow crowd and generally humiliating the Trump campaign.

Though it was sparsely attended, thousands of people coming from across the tristate area to gather indoors shouting in support for the President wasn't at all advisable during a pandemic that's yet to be under control. Experts warned the rally could prove to be a hotbed of virus transmission, especially considering the President's indirect dismissal of CDC-recommended facial coverings.

It would appear those experts were right.

Tulsa County saw a record spike of 261 new cases on Monday, followed by 206 more cases on Tuesday—and officials think they know why.

The Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said the event and those in response to it "more than likely contributed" to the uptick in cases.

He elaborated:

"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,"

The President's press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was asked about the statement and if it would affect Trump's upcoming rally in New Hampshire this Saturday.

McEnany emphasized that the campaign gives out masks and hand sanitizer, but it is each rallygoer's choice whether or not to wear it.

People pointed out that the Trump campaign had been warned about the risks.

Indeed, Dr. Dart implored the President to postpone his rally five days before it occurred:

"I think it's an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic. I'm concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I'm also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well."

People in Trump's sphere who worked on the rally or attended it have tested positive, including at least one reporter, multiple secret service agents, and Donald Trump Jr's girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

People lamented the campaign's apparent lack of concern for its own supporters and anyone with whom they interact.

Attendees of the Tulsa rally were required to acknowledge a liability waiver before attending.

Days after the Tulsa rally, Trump addressed a massive crowd of his young supporters in Yuma, Arizona. Cases in that state are spiking as well, though health officials have yet to say if the spikes are partly linked it to Trump's visit.