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Who Could Have Seen This Coming?? Coronavirus Surge in Tulsa “Most Likely” Due to Donald Trump’s Ill-Advised Rally

A young supporter wears a Trump 2020 mask at Trump's Tulsa rally.

It’s been almost three weeks since Donald Trump held his awful-on-so-many-levels Juneteenth indoor rally in Tulsa and wouldn’t you know it, Oklahoma is now seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases. Whoever could have seen that coming aside from, you know, everyone?

As a reminder, Trump’s Tulsa rally wasn’t quite the packed house he expected it to be, thanks to K-Pop fans and TikTok activists and Americans wisely frightened of a still-raging pandemic, but it still saw a few thousand people gathered in an enclosed space with no social distancing precautions in place and very few masks in sight. That’s basically the perfect recipe to turn any event into a giant coronavirus petri dish.

According to Dr. Bruce Dart, the Tulsa Health Department director, Tulsa county has seen about 500 new cases on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The health department won’t release information specifically identifying “any individual or facility at risk of exposure, or where transmission occurred,” but given the virus’s incubation period and the fact that the county had seen a dip in cases in early June, Trump’s pointless rally sure seems to be ground zero for this new surge in cases.

From the New York Times:

The county’s seven-day rolling average of new cases dipped briefly at the end of June before rising again, and has been increasing fairly steadily since July 2. Mr. Trump held his rally on June 20, and because of the incubation period between when people are infected and when they start showing symptoms, it can take around two weeks for a change in infection rates to become apparent.

Dart reportedly urged Trump to cancel his rally ahead of time, calling it a “perfect storm of potential over-the-top disease transmission.”

“When he said that, Tulsa County had just recorded 89 new cases in a day, a record high at the time,” writes the Times. “This week, the daily totals have been more than twice that.”

As for Trump, his campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh came in with a load of whataboutism nonsense.

“There were literally no health precautions to speak of as thousands looted, rioted, and protested in the streets and the media reported that it did not lead to a rise in coronavirus cases,” he said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the President’s rally was 18 days ago, all attendees had their temperature checked, everyone was provided a mask, and there was plenty of hand sanitizer available for all.”

There is substantial evidence that the weeks of protests across the country and abroad have not led to a surge in cases. (Maybe because most protestors have been seen wearing masks.) It’s not media bias to report that, or to report that Tulsa is seeing a surge.

In the words of so many Trump supporters, facts don’t care about your feelings.

(via NYT, AP, image: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.