Despite a city mandate and organizers’ requirements, few people were wearing masks at Trump’s rally.
As President Donald Trump came to Phoenix on Tuesday for a rally, a common question rose up from the public: “Will people wear masks?”
The “Students for Trump” rally organizers had reportedly told attendees that masks were required for entry into Dream City Church’s 3,000-person auditorium.
Despite this, few masks were seen while people were lined up outside the event or seated indoors.
The War Over Masks
Mayor Kate Gallego said before the event the city wouldn’t enforce its recently passed mask mandate at Trump’s rally.
She told KTAR News she instead wants to see Gov. Doug Ducey and Trump wearing masks to set an example for the public.
The president was not wearing a mask in either city.
The governor and president have both repeatedly chosen not to wear masks despite public health experts encouraging them in situations where social distancing is not feasible. Republicans overall have proven to be less likely to wear masks in public by choice than Democrats.
Ducey refused to implement a statewide mask requirement despite pleas from local officials. Finally last week he gave cities, towns, and counties the power to require masks in public, with many quickly deciding to do so.
When asked if he was worried about the event causing further spread of the virus, Trump said he’s not because his team is “very careful.” But two campaign staffers who attended his rally in Oklahoma on Saturday have since tested positive.
Arizona in Trouble
Arizona has been seeing a spike in cases in the weeks leading up to the rally, since Ducey allowed the stay-at-home order to expire May 15.
The state health department reported a record number of new cases the same day as Trump’s rally, topping more than 3,500 in one day for the first time.
The percentage of positive tests has also been rising. While the state saw 5-6% of tests coming back positive throughout most of May, that number rose to nearly 20% last week.
Hospitalizations, emergency room visits, ventilator usage, and ICU bed usages were all also at record highs Tuesday.
Despite Arizona increasing its testing capacity in recent weeks, members of the public are still reporting waiting hours to receive one, and sometimes even being turned away.