At least six staffers working on President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tested positive for the novel coronavirus, NBC News and CNN reported Saturday afternoon. The event, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people, begins Saturday night.
None of the infected staffers will be at the rally, nor will they come near attendees and elected officials, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNN in a statement.
The six people were following quarantine procedures, Murtaugh said, adding that all rally attendees will undergo temperature checks before being allowed into Tulsa’s BOK Center and will be given face masks and hand sanitizer.
Two leading members of Trump’s coronavirus task force ― Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force’s response coordinator ― “vocalized concerns internally in the last week about the safety” of holding the Tulsa rally amid the ongoing pandemic, NBC reported Friday.
Fauci said in an interview earlier this month that large events of any kind, including Trump campaign rallies, remain “risky.” He said people should continue to avoid such events. He urged those who insist on participating in large gatherings to wear facial coverings at all times.
“When you start to chant and shout, even though the instinct is to pull the mask down, which you see. Don’t do that, because there is a risk there, and it’s a real risk,” Fauci said about attending rallies and protests.
The Trump campaign previously warned Tulsa rally attendees that they will be participating in the event at their own risk. The registration page for the rally included a legal disclaimer that said Trump and his campaign will not be liable if attendees are sickened with COVID-19.