[Newsphopick=Gyubin Lee] As the coronavirus plows through the United States, health experts worry President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will become a new hotspot for coronavirus infections.
Leaders and public health experts have expressed concern, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, as well as Bruce Dart, the director of Tulsa's health department, who told the Tulsa World he wishes "we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn't as large a concern as it is today."
Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Center arena holds 19,000; attendees will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. People have been lining up for days to secure their spots.
But, at a time when Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Oklahoma -- the state has seen new confirmed cases more than double from the previous week, according to the analysis of Johns Hopkins University data -- and in neighboring Texas, the rally could be a recipe for a super-spreader event.
The rally violates virtually every one of the guiding principles for gatherings issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting it in the "highest risk" category. It's large and it's indoors. Social distancing almost certainly will not be possible if the arena is filled to anything close to capacity. Attendees will likely be yelling and chanting (and expelling droplets farther and faster than if they were speaking quietly).
There might be social pressure to not wear masks, as many Trump supporters have mocked the use of masks during the pandemic, and Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he thinks some people wear them to signal disapproval of him.