At least one person who attended Donald Trump’s rally in Minnesota last month is in an intensive care unit after contracting the novel coronavirus, as officials warned the president against holding more in-person events he was planning despite himself contracting Covid-19.
Minnesota health officials said nine people who attended the rally have since contracted the disease responsible for more than 210,000 deaths in the United States this year. They could not definitively pinpoint the in-person event as the site where the nine people became infected.
A Minnesota Health Department spokesperson said officials were able to confirm “only that they attended the rally during the time when they were likely to have been exposed to the virus that made them ill (i.e. 14 days prior to illness onset)” in an email to Politico.
Another person also remained hospitalized whose Covid-19 infection was associated with the rally, according to MPRNews. Meanwhile, the infection rate was surging in Minnesota following the president’s rally and large gatherings in the area in part fueled by Labor Day weekend and college meetups, the local news outlet reported.
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It remained unclear if the attendees of the president’s rally were infected while at the event, though the president’s in-person demonstrations have been frequently criticized by medical experts and health professionals.
Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and campaign surrogate to the president who attended his June rally in Tulsa, was hospitalized less than two weeks after the event with a severe case of the novel virus. Mr Cain later died due to complications resulting from Covid-19.
It was also unclear where or how he contracted the virus, according to a statement released on his Twitter account as he was hospitalized.
Mr Trump returned to the White House this week from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he was flown after testing positive for the virus and suffering symptoms. Despite still likely having an active case of Covid-19, he was planning on hosting a major event at the White House on Saturday in which officials said he would greet attendees from his balcony.
The president has invited an estimated 2,000 people to the White House for the weekend event, at a time when doctors said he was likely still contagious — and Mr Trump himself seemingly could not provide a clear answer about his own diagnosis.
Mr Trump told Fox News’ medical analyst Dr Marc Siegel on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday: “I haven’t even found out numbers of anything yet, but I’ve been retested and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.”
“They test every couple of days, I guess,” he added. “But it’s really at a level now that’s been great — great to see it disappear.”
Questions still linger surrounding the president’s health and when he first tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It was reported by major news outlets that the president contracted the virus last week, forcing the White House to eventually confirm his diagnosis during a week in which the president participated in the first debates and later traveled to multiple states for fundraiser events.
Mr Trump is pressing forward with plans to hold major rallies in the days ahead, saying on Thursday night: “I think I’m going to try doing a rally on Saturday night if we can, if we have enough time to put it together … But we want to do a rally in Florida, probably in Florida on Saturday night, might come back and do one in Pennsylvania, on the following night.”
White House physician Dr Sean Conley has cleared the president to return to public engagements beginning on Saturday.