Trump said people can choose to wear a mask or not
President Trump is holding his campaign rally today in Tulsa, and as pictures emerge from the crowds gathering, one thing is abundantly clear: They missed the memo about wearing masks to protect themselves (and all the others they come in contact with following this rally) against coronavirus.
The indoor facility, which holds 19,000 people, is one health experts have warned him against since he began planning the rally — his first since the coronavirus outbreak. Trump refused to listen and now thousands have descended on the city, concerning many about the spread of the virus post-rally. Another 40,000 to 60,000 people are expected outside the rally.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@bgutenschwager) June 20, 2020
As the number of cases sharply rose in the state, Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, told CNN‘s Don Lemon that “we’re coming up on a perfect storm of disease transmission, and frankly, it’s a perfect storm that Tulsa can’t afford.”
Dart also urged those in attendance to self-isolate for two weeks following the event. “We do know that there’s going to be people, probably, who are incubating or infected at this event,” he said.
Instead of urging people to be vigilant about the public health concern, Trump said masks were “a double-edged sword.” When asked if he recommended people wear them, he added: “I recommend people do what they want,” Axios reported.
Ahead of tonight’s rally, a Trump Death Clock appeared in three strategically-located billboards around Tulsa. The real-time tracker estimates the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19 unnecessarily as a result of the White House mishandling the pandemic. It is currently set at more than 70,000.
#Breaking @TrumpDeathClock now in TULSA for @realDonaldTrump "super-spreader" rally. Wherever he goes, we will remind him of the cost of his recklessness. 3 well-placed Death Clocks now up in Tulsa, incl words of Tulsa Dir. of Health cautioning against attending. #TrumpRallyTulsa pic.twitter.com/K90uzDcgh2
— TrumpDeathClock (@TrumpDeathClock) June 19, 2020
Trump is likely hoping the rally will shift public attention from a rough week, which included a book release from his former national security adviser John Bolton, who described Trump as unfit for the White House, and two landmark Supreme court decisions on LGBTQ rights and immigration.
“We have to get back to business. We have to get back to living our lives. Can’t do this any longer,” Trump said. “And I do believe it’s safe. I do believe it’s very safe.” This comes as the new daily coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded 30,000 for the first time in seven weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the U.S. death toll could be as high as 145,000 by July 11. At least 121,000 have already died.
Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith also expressed his concern during an interview on CNN‘s “The Situation Room.”
“Nobody is wearing masks, and you know people are coming in, Wolf, from all over the country — so they could be coming in from hot spots,” Keith said. “We love to welcome people to our city, but right now since we’re in a spike… the timing is very difficult.”
Trump’s campaign said they will be taking people’s temperatures before they enter the venue and will hand out face masks and hand sanitizer. Wearing the mask is optional.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.