9 People At Trump's Minnesota Campaign Rally Have Tested Positive For The Coronavirus
Nine people who attended President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Minnesota last month tested positive for the coronavirus, and one person remains in intensive care, state health officials reported Friday.
All nine were at the September 18 rally in Bemidji, weeks before Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. Few attendees at the rally wore face masks or followed social distancing guidelines recommended by federal centers for disease control and prevention. Two of the nine were hospitalized, The Duluth News Tribune reported.
Minnesota Department of Health officials can't definitively say that all nine contracted COVID-19 at the rally, but they have confirmed they all attended the event, spokesman Doug Schultz told Politico. Affected Trump supporters were at the event at a time "when they were likely exposed to the virus that was making them sick (14 days before the onset of the disease)," Schultz wrote in an email.
Trump reported that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on October 1 in early October after his close advisor Hope Hicks tested positive on Thursday morning. Trump participated in a fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort hours before his positive test result was reported. He also attended a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, the previous day when Hicks reportedly developed COVID-19 symptoms.
Three Republican Congressmen from Minnesota traveled with Trump on Air Force One from Washington to Duluth for the rally and back. When they returned to their state on October 2, they circumvented regulations and got on a commercial flight despite fears of exposure to COVID-19 from Trump and his staff.
"It was only a matter of time before the dangerous, maskless campaign events of Donald Trump and the Minnesota Republicans landed Minnesotans in the hospital," Ken Martin, leader of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, said in a statement.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said it was "a stretch" to tie the Bemidji cases to the rally, adding, "We wish everyone a speedy recovery."
Trump lost Minnesota in 2016. Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden is several percentage points ahead of the polls for the November election.
The news of the diseases in Minnesota comes after more than 35 COVID-19 cases were linked to an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on September 26th as Trump announced his appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the death of vacant seat of the Supreme Court announced Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Almost no one wore masks or followed social distance guidelines at the nomination event. Trump tested positive for the coronavirus just days later.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, has called the rose garden a "superspreader event".
Trump reportedly plans to speak to a crowd on the south lawn of the White House from a balcony on Saturday just a week after he was flown to Walter Reed Hospital for COVID-19 treatment. He's also planning a "very BIG" rally on Monday in Sanford, Florida.
The current surge in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota continues to rise. The state recorded 1,401 more cases and 14 more deaths on Friday.
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