Alabama health officials fear former president Donald Trump's rally in Cullman on Saturday will become a COVID-19 superspreader event — after a large concert in the city last weekend may have fueled an outbreak.
Judy Smith, administrator of the Alabama Department of Public Health's Northern District, told AL.com on Monday: "We are absolutely shivering in our boots. We have great concern."
Smith added that 41 percent of recent COVID cases in Alabama are among people ages 21 to 49 — who likely represent the majority of attendees at last weekend's Rock the South concert.
"Sadly enough, we're pulling our teams together right now to do additional testing, because we know it's going to happen," Smith said. "It's not going to be just Cullman County. Those folks, if they gave it to each other ... took it back to their counties."
Trump's rally will be held at the same site as Rock the South, an outdoor concert venue called York Family Farms.
Trump has long been criticized for holding large maskless rallies with no social distancing during the pandemic. Last year, researchers concluded that 18 of his rallies led to more than 30,000 COVID cases and 700 deaths.
Alabama has the lowest COVID vaccination rate in the nation, at just over 35 percent.
The number of COVID hospitalizations in Alabama has doubled since July 29 and reached its highest level since Jan. 20, with 90 percent of cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant.