DR Anthony Fauci says “of course” he wouldn’t attend President Donald Trump’s upcoming rally, but Vice President Mike Pence said coronavirus second wave fears are “overblown.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Daily Beast he wouldn’t attend Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.
“I'm in a high-risk category,” Fauci, 79, said. “Personally, I would not. Of course not.”
He added of the president’s rallies that “outside is better than inside, no crowd is better than crowd,” and “crowd is better than big crowd.”
Trump’s re-election campaign initially scheduled the Tulsa rally on Friday, June 19 — otherwise known as Juneteenth, or the day slavery ended in the US.
Tulsa, the location for the rally, was the scene in 1921 of one of the most severe white-on-black attacks in American history.
Because of backlash, Trump rescheduled for Saturday — but health experts and local authorities are still concerned about the gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tulsa on Wednesday reported 96 new cases of the virus, which is the largest one-day increase in the city since March.
Bruce Dart, the city’s top health official, told reporters he was “absolutely” worried that the event could become a “super spreader” that leads to more virus cases and deaths.
Despite concerns, Vice President Mike Pence wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday that concerns of a “second wave” are “overblown.”
“In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown,” Pence wrote.
“Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our public health system is far stronger than it was four months ago.”
He said Americans are “winning the fight against the invisible enemy” — despite the US reporting the highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the world.
States across the country have been reporting higher numbers as local economies reopened.
Coronavirus infection rates have spiked in at least nine states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas — recorded new single-day highs or set records for seven-day new cases averages on Tuesday, a Washington Post analysis found.
Oklahoma reported 228 new cases on Tuesday, with four deaths, with the state’s number of infections now reported at at least 8,645.
But Fauci told the Journal there isn’t a second wave — because Americans never left the first.
While some states, like New York and New Jersey, for example, saw massive coronavirus cases and deaths when the virus hit in March, other states weren’t affected as badly.
For those states who are being hit now, they’re still experiencing the first wave.
Fauci said reports of people hanging out bars and other crowded venues as lockdown restrictions have eased are unsettling, especially since the country is not yet out of the woods.
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