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Health officials warn that Pres. Trump's Newport News rally with 4,000 people expected to attend poses COVID-19 risk

Election 2020 Trump
Posted at 4:58 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 06:32:02-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The race to the White House will be in Hampton Roads on Friday.

The visit comes after the president visited the Jamestown settlement last year, and ahead of his expected announcement of his Supreme Court nominee this weekend.

A Virginia health official is warning of a “severe public health threat” if a planned campaign rally for President Trump goes forward in Newport News Friday evening.

Dr. Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director, said in a letter Thursday that the estimated 4,000 people expected to attend Trump’s rally at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport would be breaking Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order generally banning gatherings of more than 250 people.

It’s unlikely to make a difference, as the Trump campaign has routinely flouted public health guidelines intended to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Virginia Democratic Party Press Secretary Hannah Muldavin released the following statement following the announcement:

Today, the 200,000th American succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic, but instead of finally creating a plan to ensure the health and safety of Virginians, President Trump is announcing a superspreader rally where he will put Virginians in danger. Friday's rally won’t do anything to address the issues that matter most to Virginians, whether that’s failing to support the families of more than 3,000 people across the Commonwealth who have died from COVID, or trying to rip away protections for the 3.4 million [protectourcare.org] Virginians with a pre-existing condition by trying to dismantle the ACA. Those voters want a leader who will put their health and safety first -- not one who will put it in jeopardy with a political rally.

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also weighed in on Trump’s upcoming visit.

“Hampton Roads, as you know, was a hotspot over the summer,” McAuliffe told News 3. “It's going to be a superspreader event.”

Many residents, however, expressed to News 3 the importance of President Trump coming to the area. Such as Newport News resident Robin Necker, who stated, “I just want to see the man in person, and I want to hear what he says,” Bill Necker said. “He's good for our country, I believe, and I'm really looking forward to voting for him.”

“It's certainly going to energize our base and help us to continue to push the message that needs to be out there that we need four more years of Donald Trump,” Newport News Republican Party Local Chair Tom Aman told News 3.

All sides typically agree that Virginia is a key destination in the 2020 race.

A Trump campaign official told News 3, "Every attendee will get a temperature check prior to admission, be provided a mask they’re encouraged to wear, and have access to plenty of hand sanitizer."

Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the event starts at 9 p.m.

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