As President Donald Trump prepares for his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this Saturday, Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, is saying he wouldn’t personally attend any campaign event at this time, due to the possibility of contracting the disease.
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained in an interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he considers himself part of the “high-risk category” of individuals more susceptible to COVID-19.
“Personally, I would not,” the 79-year-old said regarding attending an election rally. “Of course not.”
Some are worried that a second wave of infections could come about due to the ending of the social distancing and stay-at-home measures across the country. However, in a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal, Fauci also asserted that the U.S. hasn’t yet addressed the disease in the first round of infections.
“People keep talking about a second wave. We’re still in a first wave,” Fauci explained.
Fauci, who became one of the most trusted voices on the coronavirus due to his many appearances during White House press briefings, as well as discussions on the disease in television interviews, also said that campaign rallies, if they have to happen, are better when they’re outside.
The campaign rally slated for this Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is at the BOK Center, an indoor venue. The Trump campaign has said it plans to make hand sanitizer available and to hand out face masks to everyone who comes, although it will not be enforcing facial coverings among participants, in spite of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that encourage such precautions in all public interactions.
Those recommendations also include a ranking of examples — from lowest to highest risk — of contracting COVID-19 at public events that Americans might consider attending. At its highest risk of examples are events described as “large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.”
While Fauci seems to be urging caution, particularly for communities of people who are at a greater risk of exposure to coronavirus, the president and his allies seem less concerned about the matter. Some, like Vice President Mike Pence, are even making comments about the campaign event that are demonstrably false, including his assertion that coronavirus cases in Tulsa are decreasing.
In fact, cases are increasing in Tulsa County, where the seven-day average for new cases of COVID-19 jumped by 304 percent in the past two weeks.
Even while it’s publicly asserting that the event will be safe, the Trump campaign seems to recognize the possibility that some could get infected merely by attending their rally this weekend. Before coming to the event, participants must forfeit any claims of liability toward the campaign if they contract coronavirus later as a result of being in attendance.