It was reported this weekend that six members of President Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally advance team tested positive for the coronavirus prior to the start of the event.
Now, it has been revealed that at least two more staffers have been diagnosed as infected with COVID-19, the Washington Examiner reported.
The news comes in the aftermath of furious opposition to rally from Trump’s political opponents as well as from public health experts who predicted that attendees would be exposed to the virus and many would inevitably be infected.
Despite demands for cancellation or postponement of the event — including a failed lawsuit seeking an injunction against it — the president pushed forward with the rally that had lower-than-expected in-person turnout but was widely viewed on television and online by millions of Trump supporters.
Two more aides test positive
CNBC reported that the addition of two more positive coronavirus cases from the campaign team brings the total of infections up to eight. Two of those eight were reported to be members of the U.S. Secret Service advance team that made preparations for event security.
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement on Monday, “After another round of testing for campaign staff in Tulsa, two additional members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus.”
“These staff members attended the rally but were wearing masks during the entire event,” he added. “Upon the positive tests, the campaign immediately activated established quarantine and contact tracing protocols.”
CNBC noted that the additional round of testing had been performed after the rally as a precautionary measure before everyone boarded planes for the flight back to Washington, D.C.
Safety precautions in place
According to ABC News, only those two campaign staffers who tested positive after the rally actually attended the event, as the others who previously tested positive — which reportedly included the two Secret Service agents — had already been barred from further participation.
In a statement issued on Saturday before the rally, Murtaugh said, “Per safety protocols, campaign staff are tested for COVID-19 before events. Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented.”
“No COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials,” he added. “As previously announced, all rally attendees are given temperature checks before going through security, at which point they are given wristbands, facemasks and hand sanitizer.”
Let us hope and pray that all of those who tested positive will be the only members of the campaign ultimately sickened and that the precautionary measures taken and continued testing will ensure that the virus doesn’t spread any further.