- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, cautioned his constituents at highest risk from the coronavirus against attending President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa this weekend.

“We’re advising people if they’re coming to the rally, if you have co-morbidities, if you are older or you have other health issues, don’t come,” Mr. Lankford said on MSNBC.

Rather than attending Saturday’s rally, Mr. Trump’s first in three months, Mr. Lankford recommended that individuals at greatest risk from the virus watch it live on television.

The senator also recommended that anyone who attends the rally covers their face to prevent spreading the virus, but he acknowledged “that’s going to be an individual decision.”

“The hard part about it, and I’ve tried to explain this to other folks, when you’re at a large gathering like that, as you know, it’s hard to be able to hear sometimes,” Mr. Lankford told MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. “So there’s going to be times — they’re going to pull masks on and off. That’s why I really encourage people, if you have other health issues, I discourage you from coming to the event.”

Scheduled for Saturday at BOK Center in Tulsa, the rally is set to be the first held by Mr. Trump’s campaign since the novel coronavirus caused states to shut down in March.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has said that more than a million people have indicated they plan to attend the event, although the indoor arena can only accommodate roughly 20,000.

Public health professionals have recommended that people wear face coverings in public and avoid gathering in groups in help slow the spread of COVID-19, the highly contagious and potentially deadly respiratory disease the novel coronavirus causes.

More than 2.1 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. since the first domestic infections were discovered in January. Of those, more than 117,000 people have died and over 583,000 have recovered.

Individuals over the age of 65 and with pre-existing health conditions are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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