The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. passed 2 million on Thursday.
More than 112,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus. And as states begin the process of reopening, they’re also seeing growing coronavirus infection rates. On Monday, Texas reported nearly 2,000 new coronavirus hospitalizations, its highest number yet. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott still plans to reopen many businesses like bars and restaurants at 50% capacity, according to NPR.
President Donald Trump, who has dismissed the seriousness of the global pandemic and let the botched U.S. response, scheduled his first campaign rally since the pandemic. As millions across the nation have protested police killings, Trump has used the opportunity to argue he can now hold rallies.
“BIG DEMAND!” he tweeted Tuesday about holding rallies. “Starting up again soon, maybe next week!”
On Wednesday, the president announced he’ll hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19, or Juneteenth — a commemoration for the ending of slavery in the U.S. The city of Tulsa, where there are no coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings, has a history for one of the worst outbreaks racial violence in American history. In 1921, a white mob massacred hundreds of Black people, decimating their businesses.
Trump’s campaign said he also plans on visiting Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Texas. The campaign believes it can deflect criticism of rally crowds not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing by pointing to the Black Lives Matter protests.
“But I would point out to the national media that I don’t remember them doing any social distancing shaming when they were doing all the coverage of the demonstrations that were going on,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Fox News on Wednesday.
— Liza Hearon contributed reporting.
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