Oklahoma coronavirus cases spike just ahead of Trump rally
Oklahoma has reported more than 800 new coronavirus cases in the past two days, marking a significant spike ahead of a massive rally for President Trump in the state planned for Saturday.
The state reported 352 new cases on Friday, one day after a record 450 new cases on Thursday. The previous record was 259 new cases, and that was set only Wednesday.
According to the state health department, there have been 367 coronavirus deaths statewide.
Over just the past week, cases have increased by about 90 percent.
Testing in Oklahoma has also remained relatively flat, so the increase in cases is not due to an increase in testing, despite arguments being made by Vice President Pence and other officials.
Oklahoma had one of the lower infection rates earlier this spring, when the virus was ravaging states in the Northeast and West Coast. Yet ever since Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) began widely reopening business in April, the state has been reporting record-high daily case numbers.
During an event with Trump and other governors on Thursday, Stitt said that Oklahoma was “one of the first states that has safely and measurably reopened.”
“Oklahoma is ready for your visit,” Stitt said. “It’s going to be safe, and everyone’s really, really excited.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he chose Oklahoma as the spot for his rally because of how well officials have responded to the virus.
“It’s like, very few people. And I think they’re in great shape. But I would even say the spike ends, has already ended,” Trump said.
Trump’s rally in Tulsa will be held at an arena that holds 19,000 people. Attendees will be given masks but will not be required to wear them.
Tulsa County has the highest number of cases in the state. The director of the Tulsa Health Department urged the Trump campaign on multiple occasions to reschedule the rally.