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WATERFORD, Mich. — Michigan physicians criticized President Trump for continuing to hold crowded campaign rallies, including one today in Waterford, that increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading into communities that are experiencing more cases of deaths and sickness. Oakland County, where Trump’s rally is scheduled, has the second-highest death toll in Michigan, with 1,237, and the second-highest number of cases, at more than 25,000.
Michigan reported the second-highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, with 3,271 positive patients on Wednesday alone. Infections are rising in 64 of Michigan’s 83 counties and surging in the northern Lower Peninsula, with hospitals in West Michigan reporting they are near capacity. As of Wednesday, more than 7,600 Michiganders have died from COVID-19 and 186,000 people have been sickened.
“Physicians in Michigan and across the nation have repeatedly begged President Trump to cancel his crowded campaign rallies because we are concerned that these large, in-person events, with few people taking basic precautions like wearing a mask, will increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading across our communities,” said Dr. Rob Davidson, Committee to Protect Medicare executive director and an emergency physician in west Michigan. “As physicians, we urge all people to follow the facts, not President Trump’s fiction. Infections and deaths are going up across Michigan and we see this firsthand every day in our clinics and in our exam rooms, and in communities where the president held rallies, the data show cases are going up. President Trump continues to ignore the science and do what he wants, even if his actions put people’s lives and livelihoods at risk.”
Several recent data analyses link Trump’s rallies to outbreaks and community spread.
One data analysis showed that about half of Trump’s 22 campaign rallies held between June and September were followed by a county-level increase in COVID-19 cases, suggesting the events may have led to community spread.
Another data analysis shows cases went up two weeks after Trump held rallies in Marathon County, Wis., which saw a 50-percent spike; Bemidji, Minn., which saw a 24-percent spike; Mankato, Minn., where cases rose 9 percent; Lackawanna, Penn., which saw a 4.6-percent increase; and Harrisburg, Penn., where cases went up 3.5 percent.
“As physicians, we are frustrated that President Trump continues to put politics ahead of people’s safety by holding these packed rallies,” said Dr. Farhan Bhatti, MD, Michigan state lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare and family physician in Lansing . “Because cases are going up in Michigan, the risk of people at the rally having COVID-19 without showing symptoms goes up, and so does the risk of them spreading it to people standing near them. President Trump makes no effort to insist people wear masks and socially distance themselves at his rallies, and he continues to spread medically inaccurate information that makes people think COVID-19 is over. And even as he puts people at risk, physicians are equally concerned that President Trump continues to try to take healthcare away from millions of Americans in the middle of a pandemic.”
President Trump supports a lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which threatens healthcare for more than 4.1 million Michiganders — or two in five people — with a preexisting condition such as asthma, diabetes, cancer and potentially long-term damage to vital organs from COVID-19.
The physicians urged people to be wary of Trump’s dismissive attitude toward COVID-19 and cautioned against uncritically accepting information that he shares, with one recent analysis calling Trump “the single largest driver of misinformation” on COVID-19.
“President Trump’s campaign rallies reflect his administration’s strategy that they recently said out loud: they can’t and they won’t control COVID-19, and President Trump’s white flag of surrender is why 226,000 Americans have died in the space of just 10 months,” said Dr. Rob Davidson. “President Trump is not serious about mitigating the COVID19 pandemic or cancelling rallies that threaten to spread the disease to communities that have already been devastated. With his actions and his words, President Trump bears responsibility for allowing COVID-19 to spread out of control and endanger people.”
President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows acknowledged: “We are not going to control the pandemic.” In the Oct. 24 interview, Meadows said the administration’s focus was on vaccines and treatment.
About the Committee to Protect Medicare
The Committee to Protect Medicare is an advocacy organization made up of frontline doctors engaging in direct advocacy and communications in support of a stronger healthcare system in America. To learn more: https://committeetoprotect.org/
NOTE: The physicians above are speaking in their capacity as members of the Committee to Protect Medicare. They should be identified only as indicated in this news release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 30, 2020
CONTACT: Annika Doner, 313-670-4737, firstname.lastname@example.org