View video of the press call.
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania physicians criticized President Trump for continuing to hold crowded campaign rallies, including three in the state on Saturday, that increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading into communities that are experiencing more cases of deaths and sickness. Pennsylvania’s public health officials are warning that COVID-19 spread is gaining momentum, sparked in large part by gatherings and people letting down their guard.
“Physicians across Pennsylvania have repeatedly begged President Trump to stop holding his crowded, in-person, maskless rallies, especially where communities are seeing COVID-19 infections increase,” said Dr. Max Cooper, MD, Pennsylvania State Lead of the Committee to Protect Medicare and an emergency physician in Chester. “When President Trump holds his three rallies in Pennsylvania, he puts many communities at risk of seeing more COVID-19 cases, and more needless pain and suffering. We’re concerned that President Trump will once again call for states to reopen when we know that gatherings are causing a new wave of outbreaks across Pennsylvania. As physicians, we want more resources that can help us keep people safe, more leadership that can encourage safe behaviors and more support for the families hardest hit during this pandemic — not more superspreader rallies that endanger people’s lives and their livelihoods.”
On Thursday, Pennsylvania reported its sixth day this month of more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases. More than 8,700 Pennsylvanians have died from COVID-19 and 205,000 more have been infected. The 44 deaths reported on Thursday is the largest since June. Pennsylvania’s positive rate over the last seven days through Thursday was 12.4 percent, more than double the rate recommended to safely reopen, which is no more than 5 percent.
“President Trump’s packed in-person rallies send the message that he will continue to do what he wants to do, whether that leads to more sickness, more death and more suffering for communities across Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Meaghan Reid, DO, an emergency physician in Drexel Hill. “As physicians, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring science and facts because science and facts can save lives, and President Trump’s decision to ignore them endangers people. We urge people to avoid gatherings because the data and what we see as doctors tell us that this pandemic is gaining momentum again, and President Trump’s rallies clearly increase the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.”
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.
“Every time President Trump repeats a myth or a statement that’s not based on reality or fact, he makes our jobs keeping people safe from COVID-19 more difficult,” said Dr. Cooper. “Every time he mocks someone wearing a mask or falsely claims COVID-19 is going away, more people will stop practising safety behaviors, which only put themselves and others around them at risk. President Trump’s first mistake was ignoring science, his second is peddling fiction and his third is threatening people’s healthcare in the middle of a pandemic that will harm countless people with ongoing health challenges and preexisting conditions.”
President Trump supports a lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which threatens healthcare for one of every two Pennsylvanians with preexisting conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, cancer and potentially long-term damage to vital organs from COVID-19.
The physicians cautioned the media and the public to be wary of Trump and his administration’s most recent flurry of medically inaccurate misinformation and claims not based on facts.
- Just yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed that COVID-19 deaths have dwindled to “almost nothing,” even though about ONE THOUSAND Americans died yesterday from COVID-19. That statement from Trump Jr., is either completely heartless and inhuman, or he’s woefully ignorant about what’s happening. COVID-19 deaths in America are up 16% over the last two weeks.
- Vice President Mike Pence claimed on Wednesday that a vaccine would be available this year. Epidemiologists and vaccine experts have repeatedly cautioned that a vaccine may not be widely available until 2021 and that vaccines take time to work before community immunity can be achieved.
- Trump has repeatedly downplayed COVID-19’s devastation when he characterizes the endemic as “disappearing.” As of Thursday, 228,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 –an average of around 1,000 deaths a day — and 8.9 million people have been sickened.
- In recent days, physicians and hospitals have pushed back against Trump’s medically inaccurate misinformation with clear facts. Trump’s false claim that doctors and hospitals are inflating COVID-19 deaths to get more money has been widely debunked and criticized, and reflects Trump’s misunderstanding of how death certificates, which note underlying causes of deaths, are completed.
And on Saturday, 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