"In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots," Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday. While Dart didn't identify the specific places where people contracted the virus, as per the health department's policy, he did admit that it's "more than likely" that large gatherings caused the latest spike in cases.
According to Time, Tulsa County reported a single-day record of 261 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, and 206 more the following day. Oklahoma had a reported 858 and 673 new cases on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, which represents the most and second-highest total for the state since the pandemic started.
Trump defied pleas from Dart to push his event back to a later date, holding his rally on June 20 at the 19,000-seat BOK Center where only 6,200 attended. Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh defended their decision to move forward with the large indoor gathering, while also taking a not-so-subtle dig at the outdoor Black Lives Matter protests.
"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," Murtaugh 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."
AP reports that masks were indeed handed out at the Tulsa rally, but most people chose not to wear them. It can be assumed that these individuals were against the idea of putting on a mask because Trump almost never puts one on.
In the days leading up to Trump’s Tulsa rally, it was reported that anyone who attended would waive their right to sue him, the arena, or anyone involved in putting the event together, if they were to contract the virus.
Hours before the rally, six staffers who were scheduled to work that night tested positive and were required to quarantine. Following the rally, the Washington Post reports that dozens of Secret Service officers and agents were told to self-quarantine.