Although Donald Trump is still in denial about the steady rise of COVID-19 cases in the United States and insisting that schools open next month, there’s some bad news for him that the rest of us suspected all along. Not only are the cases not dying down, health officials suspect that Trump is directly responsible for the sudden increase in cases now happening in Oklahoma, where Tulsa County has reported a record high of 261 new cases on Monday – the single worst day they’ve had since the pandemic arrived in the US.
Tuesday wasn’t much better, with 206 new cases announced, and 673 new cases were confirmed throughout the state on Wednesday, leading Tulsa’s city health department to acknowledge that inevitably, some of the people suffering now are either rally attendees, or have been in contact with people who went to Trump’s rally.
What makes this particularly bad is that Tulsa officials urged the Trump campaign not to hold the rally in the first place. It was also well known before the rally even happened that a number of campaign staffers had tested positive for COVID-19. City officials across the country were wary of Donald Trump and his campaign showing up even before the pandemic, because he typically skipped out on paying for the venues and additional expenses like security. Now his appearances are potentially killing off his own supporters, something that will make it considerably more difficult for him to make appearances in swing states like Arizona and Ohio that he needs to win re-election.
The problem is that even if he does get his way and finds venues to draw the crowds – he’s likely to have another embarrassing repeat of Tulsa with its low attendance, or his presence in these states could potentially sink his favorability numbers even further. Deciding to do no public appearances at all would be entirely out of character for him, and provide us with more insane meltdowns like the ones he already has regularly on Twitter. At this point, all of Trump’s options are lose-lose.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making