On Friday, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appeared on “The Situation Room” with host Wolf Blitzer to discuss President Trump’s rally, which will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday evening.
According to Gupta, the rally is “the worst-case scenario as far as gatherings go,” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
And I think, you know, most people sort of fundamentally understand that. Right now, you’ve got a very contagious virus out there putting a lot of people, tens of thousands of people, into an indoor space with no physical distancing, no mandated masks, lots of people putting virus into the air. I mean … I don’t think this is going to surprise anybody. This is a high-risk situation.
Gupta then described how to “contextualize the risk,” noting that given the current infection numbers “in that area right now,” perhaps as many as 100 rally-goers will arrive infected.
“If you look at certain principles of public health, about 20 of those people are going to be significantly shedding the virus,” Gupta added. “So, 20 people there out of 20,000.”
The issue, said Gupta, is that due to the nature of the event, the environment in which it will take place, each potentially infected individual “could infect 40 to 50 people each, which means 800 to 1,000 people could become infected as a result of this.”
These individuals will then return to their lives, and potentially infect others. Gupta referred to this as “the anatomy of an outbreak.”
As President Trump prepares to hold his first rally in months, progressive commentators have been sounding the alarm regarding the potential for a COVID-19 spread. Gupta himself has appeared on multiple CNN shows presenting the same information as he did on “The Situation Room.”
Later in the same segment, when host Blitzer compared the Trump rally to the Black Lives Matter protests occurring across the country, saying “there’s a huge difference between huge gatherings outdoors as opposed to indoors,” Gupta said that they are “both public health concerns.”
But indoors, if you just want to give some context to the increase in risk, they say it’s about 18 times more likely, the virus to spread indoors versus outdoors. So, they’re both risky – but life right now is about risk and benefits and trying to contextualize that as individuals and our behavior.
Gupta concluded by telling Blitzer that because the “rates are going up in Oklahoma,” and rally-goers will be inside together, “it adds another level of risk…”
The Trump rally is being held at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which can hold up to 20,000 people, according to the center’s official website.
In a tweet on Monday, Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale said that each attendee would have their temperature checked, receive a mask, and hand sanitizer.
Before entering each guest will get:
There will be precautions for the heat and bottled water as well.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 15, 2020
The Lexington Herald Leader reports that as guests enter the rally, they are being temperature-checked.
On the ticket registering page for the rally, text at the bottom reads:
By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.
NBC News reports that six people helping set up the president’s rally have tested positive for COVID-19. Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh issued a statement in which he noted that the six “tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented.”
Murtaugh added: “No COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials.”
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