Read key points here:
- President Trump has scheduled large campaign rallies this weekend in Wisconsin despite recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force that call for increasing social distancing in the state “to the maximal degree possible.”
- The task force has further flagged La Crosse and Green Bay, the metropolitan areas where Trump plans to gather thousands of supporters Saturday, as coronavirus “red zones,” the highest level of concern for community spread of the virus, according to a report from the group released Sunday and obtained by The Washington Post.
- Wisconsin is listed in the document as the state with the third-highest rate of new cases in the country, with 243 new cases per 100,000 people over the previous week, about 2.6 times greater than the national average. Ahead of Trump’s scheduled rally in Green Bay, the Bellin Health System said Tuesday that its hospital in that city is at 94 percent capacity as covid-19 continues to spike in the community.
- “During the intense period of viral surge, large numbers of acutely infected individuals caused exponential growth in infections,” the task force report reads in a section about Wisconsin. “Although young adults are the most affected group currently, spread to other age groups is inevitable.”
- During Tuesday’s debate, Trump defended his events as opportunities for his supporters to gather to hear him and claimed that there has been “no negative effect” from his rallies, even though health officials in Tulsa said a spike in covid-19 cases was “likely” sparked by an indoor Trump gathering in June.
- The president also said he was “okay with masks” but falsely claimed that scientists are divided over their value. Health experts have said mask-wearing, hand-washing, social distancing and being careful about crowds currently make up the best defense against the virus.
- At the events, he regularly mocks virus mitigation efforts, like social distancing, as little more than political ploys by Democratic state leaders bent on punishing him.
- “Joe Biden is setting an example and ensuring that every campaign event keeps people safe through social distancing, masks and following medical experts’ guidance,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said. “But Donald Trump is needlessly putting his own supporters and whole communities in danger with potential super-spreader gatherings.”