Coronavirus cases are surging in Tulsa, Oklahoma just two weeks after President Trump’s campaign rally there.
What We Know:
- The Tulsa Health Department reported nearly 500 new cases over the last two days, and Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart says that number will only increase. On Wednesday alone, the health department reported 266 new cases. Currently, there are over 17,000 cases in Oklahoma and over 4,500 in the city of Tulsa.
- New cases were on a decline during the weeks of June 28 through July 4. However, the virus is surging again thanks to President Trump’s rally and several other large events two weeks ago. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the rally and other large events like weddings and religious gatherings informed a new executive order, requiring events with 500 or more people to receive guidance from the health department. Bynum said that hospital capacity is fine right now, but the current case trajectory concerns him. There is no city-wide mandate for face coverings.
- Of those present in Tulsa, at least eight Trump campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents tested positive for coronavirus. Former presidential candidate Herman Cain also tested positive after he attended the rally. Attendees had their temperatures checked and masks were provided, but the masks were not mandatory and social distancing was not observed.
- Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh criticized the media for attributing the spike in cases to the rally and not protesters. “There were literally no health precautions to speak of as thousands looted , rioted, and protested in the streets . . . It’s obvious that the media’s concern about large gatherings begins and ends with Trump rallies,” Murtaugh said. The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study which found that the nationwide protests against racial injustice were not a contributing factor to spikes in cases.
The president will hold an outdoor rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this Saturday. New Hampshire does not require face coverings, but attendees “will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear”.