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The head of the Tulsa Health Department expressed his wishes that an upcoming rally for the Trump campaign be postponed due to a surge in new coronavirus cases in the county despite the large-scale protests that have raged across the country in the last two weeks.
Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in an interview on Saturday that an indoor Trump rally that would attract tens of thousands of supporters would be "a huge risk factor," according to CBS News.
"COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently," Dart said. "I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn't as large a concern as it is today."
Though Dart said that it was an "honor" to have the sitting president visit Tulsa, it would not be appropriate during a pandemic.
"I'm concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I'm also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well," Dart added.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced both President Donald Trump and presidential candidate Joe Biden to forego in-person campaign events, including the president's primary campaign rallies.
This comes amid nationwide protests that have not adhered to social distancing protocols or wearing face masks. Some have even gone so far as to say that there is a strong political bias in the types of groups that are allowed to gather and those that are not.
But Trump is set to resume his in-person campaign events on Saturday beginning with the rally in Tulsa, which is expected to draw thousands. Protests have continued there leading up to the weekend.
While individual states have been moving forward with their reopening strategies in order to stifle the spread of the contagion, health experts have cautioned Trump to not hold rallies.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who led the Food and Drug Administration in the Trump administration, said that he "certainly would counsel against it."
"If I was giving advice to the administration on this, I would say that they should withhold large political rallies right now," he said.
"They also need to lead by example, and so encouraging people to social distance, encouraging people to wear masks — that's what we should be engaging in right now."
But why these same expressions of caution have not been publicly made toward the protests which have surged across the country is not clear.
The US has recorded more than 2 million cases of COVID-19, and some states are seeing a surge in new infection amid the large-scale protests taking place across the country.
Tulsa County has recorded more than 1,500 confirmed cases, a 2.5 percent increase, and county confirmed 82 new cases as of Friday.