Coronavirus surge in Tulsa ‘more than likely’ linked to Trump rally

Daniel Fowler
July 12, 2020

President Donald Trump's controversial campaign rallies like the one in Tulsa last month "more than likely" contributed to a local surge in coronavirus cases, health authorities in the southern us state of Oklahoma said Wednesday.

Tulsa health department director Bruce Dart said,"The past two days we've had nearly 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right", adding that "So I guess we just connect the dots". While Dart didn't identify the specific places where people contracted the virus, as per the health department's policy, he did admit that it's "more than likely" that large gatherings caused the latest spike in cases.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Trump defied pleas from Dart to push his event back to a later date, holding his rally on June 20 at the 19,000-seat BOK Center where only 6,200 attended. But Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told the AP that the campaign took numerous steps to keep the rally's attendees safe.

President Trump's Tulsa rally, his first since the coronavirus pandemic hit the US, attracted thousands of people from around the country.

Statewide, Oklahoma health officials on Wednesday reported 673 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the state's second-highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.

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Hours before the rally, six staffers who were scheduled to work that night tested positive and were required to quarantine.

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The briefing came as the US surpassed 3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and cases are spiking in many states across the country.

In the rally, he told cheering supporters that he has ordered US officials to slow down testing for the COVID-19 pandemic as it is a "double-edged sword" that led to more cases being discovered.

In response to a recent surge in coronavirus cases, the cities of Norman and Stillwater have approved mandates that people must wear masks in public.

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