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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.

Go deeper

Trump baselessly accuses Fauci of being a "Democrat"

President Trump again criticized Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, during a campaign rally in North Carolina on Thursday, claiming without evidence that the NIAID director is "a Democrat," and accusing him of downplaying the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Since the onset of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly undermined Fauci, who has five decades of public service, describes himself as apolitical and is not registered with either party. In public statements and tweets, Trump has accused Fauci of blundering the government's response to the virus.

Oct 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Harris pauses campaign travel after aide tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will pause her travel through Sunday after her communications director tested positive for the coronavirus, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.

The state of play: The campaign said that the vice presidential nominee, who tested negative for the virus on Wednesday, was "not in close contact" with the aide, Liz Allen, under CDC guidelines. She will still pause her travel "out of an abundance of caution and in line with [the] campaign's commitment to the highest levels of precaution," the campaign said.