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No one talks to the Caudillo

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I understand we’re getting used to it now, but this is simply insane:

President Trump is about to make a high-risk return to the campaign trail.

Trump will hold a massive rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, at a time when coronavirus infections there are rising steeply.

Any upsurge in cases that could be linked to the event, set to take place at a 19,200-capacity indoor arena, would be a political nightmare for a president facing a tough reelection battle.

Trump has already come under criticism for his initial response to the crisis. And roughly 20 states are seeing their COVID-19 caseloads increase, including three election battlegrounds: Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

But Trump is gambling that nothing will go wrong and that his rally will be taken as a sign the nation is on the path back to normalcy.

Public health officials say they don’t care about the politics — but they are alarmed by the president’s willingness to roll the dice.

“Frankly, I’m terrified,” Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown Law professor who specializes in public health, told The Hill. “I literally can’t think of a more dangerous scenario for the spread of the coronavirus than a crowded indoor rally.”

Such an event, Gostin added, “has every single element of risk — people close together, in a contained indoor space, and also with a lot of shouting and yelling, which projects the virus.”

Experts in Oklahoma have added their voices to the chorus of concern.

“It’s a perfect storm that we can’t afford to have,” Bruce Dart, the executive director of the Tulsa health department, told The New York Times on Tuesday.

The Times noted that Tulsa County had its highest number of new cases on Monday since the coronavirus crisis began and that hospitalizations with COVID-19 have “almost doubled” in a one-week period.

As Gostin notes, the perfect scenario for COVID-19 transmission is an indoor event featuring 20,000 people tightly packed together and a lot of yelling.

Of course the right wing scream machine is busily making false equivalences to the protests against police brutality, even though those protests feature vastly less favorable conditions for transmission, and are infinitely more justifiable than a political rally in a non-competitive state that could just as easily be held outside, except that owning the libs is obviously far more important than not killing the hundreds or thousands of people who will eventually die as a direct consequence of this bit of fascist performance art (This number includes people not at the rally who will be infected by somebody who caught the virus there).

Trump’s strategy here is pretty clear: Just pretend the virus doesn’t really exist any more, and/or is not a significant problem. In other words, same as it ever was: Keep the grift going until the marks wise up, which, given their psychological investment in this particular scheme, can be calculated to be likely to happen approximately never.

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