As United States Presidential elections are getting closer by the day, the campaigns are in full swing. Donald Trump has decided to go ahead with big rallies but his Democratic challenger Joe Biden is keeping his campaign mostly online. Dr. Bruce Dart Director of Tulsa health Department believes Trump’s rally in Tulsa in late June contributed to the spread of coronavirus in Tulsa.
Before the rally, Dr. Dart advised postponing the rally due to some reports regarding positive cases of coronavirus. He said 500 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the last few days and several large events were held over the past two weeks, so it can only mean one thing that the rally contributed to the recent spread.
Tulsa County’s rolling average of new covid19 cases for 7 days briefly went down as June ended. But after July 2 it started increasing again and is still on the rise. Trump’s rally was held on the 20th of June, so after leaving out the period in which people are infected and start showing symptoms, it usually takes 14 days for the infection rate to show a sudden change.
From the start, health experts were concerned about Trump’s decision to hold large rallies indoors which provides a much bigger risk than outdoors for the transmission of coronavirus, especially in a place where already the cases were on a spike. Just before the rally Tulsa County had reported 86 new covid19 cases, their daily record at the time.
After the event, dozens of secret agents went into self-quarantine after two of them were tested positive. A journalist covering the rally also announced that he was tested positive days after the rally. Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, was part of the rally and was hospitalized last week due to covid19. He posted pictures of him with several others in the rally without masks on social media.
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261 new coronavirus cases in Tulsa were reported on Monday, which is a record for a day, and on Tuesday another 206 cases were reported bringing the total to 4571. Before the rally, 76 cases were reported on Monday and 96 on Tuesday. Tulsa County has the most number of confirmed cases now than any other in Oklahoma.
Leanne Stephens who is a communications and marketing director at the Tulsa health department said that the contact tracers and epidemiologists are flooded with people who are tested positive for covid19 as the number of cases is high in recent days.
Karen Keith county commissioner of the area in which the rally was held said that contact tracers are having a hard time convincing people to tell the places where they had been which is making the officials frustrated. She added that an increased number of cases especially in the rural areas indicate that rally could be the reason for recent outbreaks.
Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign’s director of communication, ensured that attendees of the rally were well protected. He said that all attendees were checked for their temperature, they were provided masks and plenty of hand sanitizer was also made available. He blamed the media saying that media is only concerned with Trump’s rallies and not the riots that held earlier.
Despite Murtaugh’s claims it is reasonable to suggest that Trump’s rally significantly contributed to the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Tulsa as people were seen not wearing masks and also not following physical distancing.