View video of the press call here.
GRAND RAPIDS/TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Michigan physicians and nurses today blasted President Trump for continuing to hold large, in-person campaign rallies in Michigan as COVID-19 cases surge in west and northern Michigan, stretching hospitals thin, while new data links Trump’s rallies to avoidable deaths. More than 35 healthcare professionals across Michigan signed a joint letter denouncing President Trump’s campaign rallies., scheduled for Traverse City and Grand Rapids today.
“President Trump’s reckless campaign rallies throw gasoline on the COVID-19 fire that is spreading across Michigan, and he must be held accountable for unnecessarily putting people’s lives at risk,” Dr. Rob Davidson, MD, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare and an emergency physician in Michigan. “Doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals are the ones who have to save lives when people get sick after attending President Trump’s rallies, and we do our jobs even as the president fails to provide us with the resources we need to protect our patients and ourselves. By holding these superspreader campaign rallies, President Trump is adding to the pain and suffering in communities across Michigan.”
Every county in West Michigan is either in the middle of an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak or at extreme risk of experiencing one. Kent County, where Grand Rapids is located, on Saturday reported a 7-day average of 313 positive cases, more than triple the rate at the start of October. West Michigan counties have the highest positive rates per 100,000 in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, with Oceana, Kent and Calhoun counties in the state’s Top 3.
“President Trump’s rally in my community could sicken my patients and my neighbors and even put their lives at risk,” said Dr. Harland Holman, MD, a family physician in Grand Rapids. “Hospitals and healthcare professionals across West Michigan are preparing every day to ensure that we can care for all our patients, and our work becomes more difficult when President Trump intentionally risks exposing people to COVID-19. As physicians on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see firsthand how President Trump makes COVID-19 worse by his words and his actions. For every patient who gets COVID-19 because they refused to wear a mask, or attended a large gathering without social distancing, that is one suffering we could have avoided had President Trump led by example and put people’s health and safety ahead of politics.”
Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients quadrupled in the 10-county west-northwest Michigan region of District Health Department #10 between early October to the end of the month. Public health officials and hospital leaders in the region warn against holding large gatherings.
“Instead of holding these dangerous and risky campaign rallies, President Trump should do his job so health workers can do ours,” said Dr. Farhan Bhatti, MD, CTP Michigan State Lead and a family physician in Lansing. “Doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals are the ones who have to save lives when people get sick after attending President Trump’s rallies. We do our jobs even as the president fails to provide us with the resources we need to protect our patients and ourselves, whether that’s enough N-95 masks or enough rapid-result tests.”
“As a resident and a health professional, I am very disappointed and worried about the president’s rallies in Michigan,” said Carly Batcha, RN, a registered nurse in Traverse City. “I take care of patients with COVID, and I can tell you COVID-19 is very real, and the risk created by these rallies is undeniable. Getting people close together in large groups is dangerous – science and experience tells us that. Leaders should be encouraging people to stay away from large groups, not creating them like this. The president is setting a terrible example and putting people at risk with these rallies. The rallies are especially irresponsible at a time when we are seeing an increase in COVID patients. This goes against everything we know about what should be done to prevent the spread of COVID.”
Research released on Friday examined 18 counties that hosted President Trump’s rallies between June 20 and September 22. The researchers then compared the rate of post-rally Covid-19 infections in the host counties to that of comparable counties that did not host a rally. The study followed COVID-19 infection rates for 10 post-rally weeks for each event. According to the researchers at Stanford University, the “18 rallies resulted in more than 30,000 incremental confirmed cases of COVID-19.”
The researchers wrote: “Applying county specific post-event death rates, we conclude that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths.”
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 health care system in America. To learn more: http://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: Monday, November 2, 2020