Was it safe to go to Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last month? Apparently not for hundreds of people in the area.
According to Dr. Bruce Dart—the Tulsa City-County health department director who originally asked that the campaign rally be postponed, saying “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event”—the gathering “likely contributed” to a huge spike in COVID-19 cases in the two weeks following the rally.
The Associated Press noted that Tulsa County had a record-high 261 confirmed new cases on July 6, and that was followed by another 206 new cases on July 7. Dart said the rally “more than likely” was a major cause for the surge. During the event, social distancing rules were not enforced, and most people appeared to not be wearing masks.
“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,” Dart said on July 8.
Aside from those in the Tulsa area who have been infected by the virus, at least eight of Trump’s campaign officials, two Secret Service members, and a reporter who covered the rally also have tested positive.
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain attended the rally and didn’t wear a mask. He later tested positive for COVID-19. Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., also was present in Tulsa, and she later tested positive as well.
In response, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said there is “no data to indicate” that the increasing cases could be tied to the rally, and she pointed out that people who attended received free face masks.
“We hand them out … at these events, and there is ample hand sanitizer and it’s people’s individual choice as to whether to go,” she said.
On July 30, it was announced that former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who attended the rally, had died from the coronavirus.