Jul 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Tulsa health official: Trump rally "likely contributed" to coronavirus spike

President Trump speaking at a rally in Tulsa as people wave "Make America Great Again" signs

President Trump speaks at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. on June 20, 2020. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's campaign rally and related protests in Tulsa in late June "more than likely" contributed to the area's recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Public health officials, including Dart himself, had urged the campaign to postpone the rally, fearing that a large indoor gathering with few people wearing masks could accelerate the spread of the virus.

What they're saying: “In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,” Dart said.

  • Asked about Dart's comments at a press briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded: "I would just say I have no data to indicate that on my end. It is the decision of individuals whether they go. We encourage the wearing of masks."

The state of play: Tulsa County confirmed 261 new coronavirus cases on Monday and 206 cases on Tuesday. The state has over 17,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins University.

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