Ivanka Trump, daughter and Advisor to the US president speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Surprising No One, the RNC Was Probably a COVID-19 Superspreader Event

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What do you get when you bring together a bunch of people who don’t believe in the dangers of the coronavirus to celebrate the man who failed to contain the coronavirus? Well … you get coronavirus, most likely. The Republican National Convention wasn’t just there to breed and spreads lies, it was, in all likelihood, a superspreader event for COVID-19, to an extent we may not know for weeks.

The RNC took place in various locations, but the two main events were in Charlotte, North Carolina, and (in blatant violation of federal law) at the White House. Let’s talk about Charlotte first, where 4 RNC attendees have already tested positive for COVID-19.

Concerns were raised in Charlotte throughout the convention, where Republicans gathered from across the nation and in many cases did so in ways the ignored social distancing and other precautions, much to the dismay of local authorities. Though the convention was far smaller than earlier events that had been planned, it was still concerning to have so many people from across the country together and not social distancing.

Attendees were tested at the beginning of the convention, and regular symptom checks were conducted (though such checks may not be extremely effective, especially if there are asymptomatic carriers around). Nearly 800 tests were administered, which sounds great … except they kept mingling and hanging out while they waited for results.

Here’s what the convention was like for these attendees, according to the Charlotte Observer:

Once in town, they were free to move about the city, eating at restaurants and attending events. That opened up the possibility that the virus could be picked up after their Charlotte-based test, and before the convention in person.

Over the weekend ahead of the Monday convention, delegates met for business meetings in a ballroom in the Westin Charlotte and mingled at a handful of events in the city, where mask wearing was not absolute.

To which my only response is a heavy sigh and a scream inside my heart that has become the norm for 2020. Both the press and the county public health director asked RNC officials why social distancing and other protocols weren’t being enforced and were assured that they were or would be. Basically, the RNC lied to their faces.

When delegates swarmed together, maskless and un-distanced and RNC staff was asked why they were allowed to do this, they responded that they had received this guidance from the secret service. Meaning this order came from the top, from Trump, and when we look at the failure of any social distancing that happened at the White House events, that’s not surprising at all.

This is what it looked like in the crowd as Donald Trump delivered his lie-ridden, rambling acceptance speech.

Embed from Getty Images

Yes, that’s a non-socially distanced crowd full of people not wearing masks! FIFTEEN HUNDRED of them! All clapping and shouting and spewing their COVID-19 all over! Do they know the risk? Yes. Do they care? Absolutely not, according to CNN’s Jim Acosta.

This “so what? who cares if people suffer and die?” is the message of the RNC, the Republicans, and Donald Trump at this point. They’ve failed so utterly in response to the pandemic that they’re now just kicking back and saying that everyone will get it, what can you do. At least one person is calling them out:

Will the people that were foolish enough to attend these events and risk getting infected deserve it when they do … probably yes, but the people that won’t deserve it are the masses that these maskless morons will likely spread the disease too. Stopping the spread of this virus takes commitment, planning, and caution, but more than anything it takes caring about the welfare of other people, and that’s clearly something that the Republican party abandoned long ago.

(via Charlotte Observer, image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.