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The upper section is partially empty as President Trump speaks during his June campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday he'd love to hold campaign rallies, but he "can't because of the covid. ... you can't have people sitting next to each other."

Why it matters: Trump is known for electrifying crowds at rallies and connecting with loyal supporters on a huge scale. But Trump stressed to Hewitt and in a separate radio interview earlier Tuesday that it wouldn't work while social distancing is required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "You can’t have empty seats," Trump told with Fox News Radio.

What he's saying: "You know, if I had five empty seats — for instance, they said, 'Would I do a rally, sir?' The reason I won’t do them [is] because, you can have one seat and then seven around that seat, sir, have to be empty," Trump told Fox News Radio.

"Oh, that'll look great. You know, you have one person and everything's empty around them. You can’t do that."

Of note: Trump's indoor campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June attracted a smaller-than-expected crowd of 6,200 in the 19,200-capacity BOK Center, according to the city's fire department. The Trump campaign insists 12,000 people were in attendance.

  • The Tulsa City-County Health Department said last month the rally and related protests "more than likely" contributed to the area's surge in coronavirus cases.
  • His outdoor rally that was due to take place last month with people wearing face masks encouraged in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was postponed because of a tropical storm.

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - Health

Over a quarter-million people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The United States topped 250,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday as infections soar in nearly every pocket of every state in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Why it matters: The sharp rise in the number of cases and fatalities has accelerated calls for government action. Wednesday's news exceeded infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci's March prediction in which he said "we should be prepared" that COVID-19 could kill 240,000 Americans.

Updated Nov 18, 2020 - Health

FDA approves first coronavirus test for self-testing at home

Laura Robles, 14, takes a swab at a COVID-19 testing site in Los Angeles on Nov. 11. The Lucira test kit is a nasal swab to be used by people aged 14 or older. Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration announced in a post Tuesday night that it has issued an emergency use authorization for the first COVID-19 test for self-testing at home — and it returns rapid results.

Why it matters: Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus are accelerating across the U.S. This rapid home test could help reduce testing delays.

The Thanksgiving time bomb

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are at new peaks, cities and states are weighing second lockdowns, and flu season is upon us — but we're all looking the other way.

Why it matters: Pandemic fatigue has set in and the nation has collectively stopped caring just in time for the holiday season. This Thanksgiving could be catastrophic for public health.