After underwhelming crowds at his rally in Tulsa, President Donald Trump headed to Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday for his second campaign rally since the beginning of the pandemic. Trump is speaking to young people at a megachurch called Dream City, where church leaders claim an air filtration system makes the location virtually pandemic proof.
“So when you come into the auditorium, 99% of COVID is killed,” church leaders said.
Inside Edition talked to one doctor who said that even if it were possible, it would “absolutely not make their air safe for those attending.”
“You would need massive air purifiers, cycling the majority of that air all the time,” said neurologist Dr. Steven Novella. “Even then I don’t think it would really help much. The real risk of the virus when you are in a mass of people is just talking to someone else beside you. They are spraying you with droplets. It’s not like the air is going through a filter before it gets to the person three feet away from you.”
The rally comes as Arizona faces a large increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. When asked if he was putting lives at risk by continuing to hold indoor rallies, Trump downplayed the threat.
“No I’m not worried. We’re careful. We watch it,” the president said.
Tulsa’s abysmal turnout — about 6,200 in a stadium that holds 19,000 — was partially attributed to teenagers across the nation who said they reserved large amounts of free tickets with no intention of actually showing up. The result was a grossly inflated expected audience number.
The Trump campaign blamed the low numbers on the media’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protesters, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally,” said a statement posted to his campaign website.