Tulsa has been experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, with officials reporting 266 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number in the county to 4,571.
The officials said that the county has experienced a surge in new cases a little over two weeks (since June 20) after President Donald Trump held a rally in an indoor arena in Tulsa.
Executive Director of the Tulsa Health Department Dr. Bruce Dart said the officials have reported high numbers of cases this week, with nearly 500 new cases in the past two days, while the trends are showing those numbers may increase.
Dart was asked whether the cases in Tulsa are going to increase due to the rally. He replied there were several large events a couple of weeks ago, adding, “I guess we just connect the dots.”
Leanne Stephens of the Tulsa Health Department told CNN, “Our epidemiologists and contact tracers are inundated with following up with Tulsa County residents who are confirmed positive as the numbers have been extremely high in recent days. Yesterday, we set a new single-day case high and you can see on our website where the trends are moving.”
The incubation period – the time between the invasion of the virus and the appearance of the symptoms – of COVID-19 is from three to 14 days, with most people getting symptomatic within four to five days of exposure.
Trump rally communications director Tim Murtaugh told CNN, “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.”
“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,” he added. “It’s obvious that the media’s concern about large gatherings begins and ends with Trump rallies.”
The Tulsa Fire Department said about 6,200 people attended the Trump’s rally on June 20.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said this week he “finally started to hear some concern, not about where things stand today, but where things could look if we continue on this trajectory unchecked.”
Although there is no citywide mandate for face coverings, Bynum and Dr. Dart have been encouraging everyone to wear a facemask in public. Bynum said, “I think that the thing that citizens need to understand is that when we put that kind of mandate in place, we will be putting it there because we had no other choice but to do that to protect their ability to get medical care over the long term of this pandemic.”