President Trump is headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma for his first campaign rally since coronavirus restrictions began back in March. Now, with over 80,000 Trump supporters signed up to attend the event, several public officials are urging caution and advocating for the use of facial masks.
Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department, told a local paper that he wished the rally could be rescheduled, citing a “significant increase in our case trends.” On Saturday, Oklahoma reported 225 new cases of COVID-19 while the State has documented 359 virus-related deaths to date.
“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community,” Dr. Dart commented, “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.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General, tweeted Sunday that face coverings were essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. “Just a reminder,” Dr. Adams wrote, “wearing a face covering is a small inconvenience that provides big benefits, and gives us our best chance for an effective and lasting reopening of America. If everyone does their part to slow the spread, then everyone wins!”
Still, fears are mounting that the tens of thousands of people who have signed up to attend the rally could lead to a coronavirus cesspool. The Bank of Oklahoma Center, where the event will take place, has a seating capacity of 20,000, only a quarter of the amount of individuals who have signed up to attend. It’s notable that all other events at the arena have been indefinitely canceled.
Some inconsistencies are glaring. The President has refused to wear a facial mask in public, and has frequently cast aside the notion that wearing a facial mask ought to be obligatory. At the same, all attendees are required to sign a waiver agreeing not to sue the Trump campaign should they contract COVID-19 at the rally. There’s a high likelihood that many attendees will choose not to abide by the public safety measure, consequences be damned.