ARIZONA NEWS

Valley doctor: Trump rallies could be COVID-19 ‘super spreader events’

Oct 20, 2020, 4:45 AM | Updated: 5:04 pm
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo...

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — A Valley doctor worries the two rallies President Donald Trump held in Arizona on Monday could be “super spreader events” for the coronavirus at a time when that state is seeing a rise in cases and hospitalizations.

“The last thing President Trump should be doing right now is coming to Arizona, bringing people into packed quarters and spreading misinformation to large audiences,” said Dr. Susan Hughes, a family physician in Scottsdale.

She called the president’s decision to hold rallies in Prescott and Tucson “reckless and irresponsible.” She emphasized that anyone who attended the rallies should assume they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and should self-quarantine for 14 days.

Hughes made those comments during a virtual press briefing ahead of the rallies. It was organized by the Committee to Protect Medicare, a national advocacy organization made up of frontline doctors who support a stronger U.S. healthcare system.

She noted Arizona “has been hit hard by COVID-19” with nearly 6,000 people dying from the virus. Though key metrics for the virus have dropped substantially since peaking over the summer, cases and hospitalizations have been trending upward this month.

Hughes said she worries the two campaign rallies on Monday “not only could but will spread COVID-19” as have similar rallies in other states, including in Minnesota where state health officials have traced nearly two dozen COVID-19 cases to two rallies Trump held in September.

“As a physician, I can tell you with certainty that Trump’s rallies are a threat to our public health,” she said, adding that they “fly in the face of the recommendations” from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear a mask, socially distance and avoid large gatherings.

“We’ve seen across Trump’s many rallies that people are rarely following these science-based guidelines,” Hughes said. “Most stand shoulder-to-shoulder without a mask.”

People had their temperatures checked before they could proceed to the rally at the Prescott Regional Airport and at the Tucson International Airport. But like with previous rallies, socially distancing was difficult to practice and most supporters did not wear a mask.

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President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) A supporter of President Donald Trump waits for the president to arrive at a campaign rally Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump listens as Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump listens as White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump stands White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as he speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump waves as he departs a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) 
              President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. Second from right is Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
            President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) A supporter pulls down her mask to take a selfie prior to an address by Eric Trump, son of President, Donald Trump, at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Eric Trump, son of President, Donald Trump, addresses a gathering of supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) President Donald Trump dances as he acknowledges the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) A masked supporter arrives for an address by Eric Trump, son of President, Donald Trump, prior to a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) People cheer as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump walks away from the podium after speaking at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) President Donald Trump listens as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey wait to greet President Donald Trump at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix, with Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump greets Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., as he steps off Air Force One at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix, with Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump walks over to talk to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix, with Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) People try to catch a shirts being thrown into the crowd prior to a President Donald Trump campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) People have their temperatures checked before they attend a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump at the Prescott Regional Airport on October 19, 2020 in Prescott, Arizona. With almost two weeks to go before the November election, President Trump is back on the campaign trail with multiple daily events as he continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Getty Images Photo/Caitlin O'Hara) People wait to board a bus to attend a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump on October 19, 2020 in Prescott, Arizona. With almost two weeks to go before the November election, President Trump is back on the campaign trail with multiple daily events as he continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.  (Getty Images Photo/Caitlin O'Hara) People wait in line for a shuttle to see President Donald Trump speak at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) People walk along the road to attend a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump at the Prescott Regional Airport on October 19, 2020 in Prescott, Arizona. With almost two weeks to go before the November election, President Trump is back on the campaign trail with multiple daily events as he continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Getty Images Photo/ Caitlin O'Hara) People wait in line for a shuttle to see President Donald Trump speak at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Hundreds of people line up outside of a Prescott, Arizona, church waiting to be shuttled to Pfescott Regional Airport for President Donald Trump's rally Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Hundreds of people line up outside of a Prescott, Arizona, church waiting to be shuttled to Pfescott Regional Airport for President Donald Trump's rally Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Hundreds of people line up outside of a Prescott, Arizona, church waiting to be shuttled to Pfescott Regional Airport for President Donald Trump's rally Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross)

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Valley doctor: Trump rallies could be COVID-19 ‘super spreader events’