President Trump dismissed concerns about his supporters contracting the novel coronavirus as a consequence of attending his upcoming reelection campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mr. Trump replied in the negative when asked Wednesday if he is worried about his supporters getting sick by attending this weekend’s rally, his first since the outbreak reached pandemic proportions.
“No, because if you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It’s dying out,” Mr. Trump told Gray TV, contrary to public health records suggesting otherwise.
In fact, Mr. Trump’s claim that Oklahoma is seeing fewer coronavirus infections came the same day the state reported a record number of cases of COVID-19, the disease it causes.
Oklahoma reported 258 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, breaking a state record set the previous day of 228, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
An average of 203 new cases was reported each day in Oklahoma during the week ending Wednesday, up roughly 110% from the previous seven-day period, according to the data.
Despite the surge, the president said during the interview that his campaign is not worried about his supporters potentially contracting the contagious disease from other rally-goers.
“But no, we’re not concerned,” Mr. Trump added. “Actually, Oklahoma has had a very low rate relatively speaking. It is a little spike, a small spike for a specific reason.”
Mr. Trump did not elaborate on what he credited with causing the spike in coronavirus cases. He has previously attributed similar rises to increased testing.
Set for Saturday at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, the rally will be Mr. Trump’s first since the coronavirus outbreak forced him off the campaign trail in early March.
Health experts have recommended that people help slow the spread of COVID-19, for which no cure exists, by wearing face masks in public and avoiding gathering in large groups.
Contrary to the rally surely attracting crowds, Mr. Trump maintained during the interview that precautions are being taken to ensure that “everyone is going to be safe.”
“We’re doing temperature checks. We’re doing a lot of different things where I think we’re giving out face masks. We’re doing a lot of things,” Mr. Trump told Gray TV.
People attending the rally “assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” and agree not to sue if they become sick, according to the Trump campaign website.
Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, recently asked that Trump supporters at highest risk from the coronavirus avoid attending the event, meanwhile.
“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 Wednesday on MSNBC.
More than 2.1 million people in the U.S., a nation of roughly 330 million, have tested positive for COVID-19 since the first domestic cases were reported in January. More than 110,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and over 590,000 have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins.