President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa last month “likely contributed” to a surge in coronavirus cases in the area, according to the Tulsa City-County Health Department director.
“The past two days we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right,” director Bruce Dart said in a news conference Wednesday. “So I guess we just connect the dots.”
The county recorded a record 261 new cases on Monday, and an additional 206 cases Tuesday, according to the Tulsa Health Department. The week before the June 20 rally, there were 76 confirmed cases on Monday and 96 on Tuesday.
Ahead of the rally, which drew 6,200 people from all over the country to the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena, Dart voiced concerns, urging President Trump to postpone the event and calling it a “huge risk factor” in an interview with the Tulsa World.
Event staff provided attendees with masks, though there was no requirement to wear them and most elected not to.
A reporter, several of Trump’s campaign staffers, and two members of the Secret Service tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the rally.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh criticized the media’s focus on the president’s rallies as coronavirus superspreader events over nationwide protests and riots sparked by the death of George Floyd in a statement to the Washington Post.
“There were no health precautions to speak of as thousands looted, rioted, and protested in the streets and the media reported that it did not lead to a rise in coronavirus cases,” Murtaugh said. “Meanwhile, the President’s rally was 18 days ago, all attendees had their temperature checked, everyone was provided a mask, and there was plenty of hand sanitizer available for all.”
“It’s obvious that the media’s concern about large gatherings begins and ends with Trump rallies.”