'Terrible idea’: Trump-backing doctor warns Tulsa rally is ‘reckless and dangerous’ as COVID-19 cases spike
Profile view of Donald J Trump, presidential candidate, at the Boca Raton, FL Rally on March 13th, 2016. (Photo: Windover Way Photography/Shutterstock)

A Trump-backing emergency room physician expressed grave concerns about the president's campaign rally this weekend in her hometown.


Dr. Samantha Whiteside, a Tulsa emergency physician, wrote a column for the Tulsa World expressing her fears that President Donald Trump's campaign rally Saturday will worsen Oklahoma's coronavirus outbreak -- which is already setting records for new cases in Tulsa County on a near-daily basis in the past week.

"It’s not about President Trump," Whiteside wrote. "For me, it doesn’t matter if the rally is for a Republican, Democrat or Queen Elizabeth herself. It’s a terrible idea."

The positive rate spiked to 15 percent as of Monday, which suggests the increase is not solely due to increased testing, and the number of hospitalizations has increased alongside the sharp rise in new cases.

"Based on what we know about COVID-19, it is reasonable to expect a surge of hospitalizations in the next two weeks, as those who are diagnosed typically become severely ill at about the two-week mark," Whiteside warned.

The physician pointed out that a shortage of personal protective equipment persists, forcing her and other health care providers to put themselves at potential risk by dangerously reusing N95 masks and other items.

"While I understand that sheltering in place indefinitely and shutting down the economy for months is unrealistic, holding a large indoor rally, where people are shoulder-to-shoulder, as described by President Trump’s own campaign team, seems short-sighted at best and reckless and dangerous at worst," Whiteside warned. "It is not a question of whether someone who attends will be infected, but rather how many and how great the toll will be on our community and local hospitals, and how many attendees will carry COVID-19 back to their local communities."

"As a physician, my oath is to do no harm, and to sit silently on this matter feels wrong," she added. "I was raised in a conservative, pro-life, Southern Baptist household and continue to have these values today with my own family."