| Detroit Free Press
Two western Michigan physicians urged President Donald Trump to cancel his campaign rally taking place Saturday afternoon in Muskegon, where coronavirus cases are on the uptick.
Doctors Rob Davidson and Susan Fabrick held a press conference via Zoom on Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before doors were slotted to open at FlyBy Air near the Muskegon County Airport. The doctors said the president is failing to listen to the evidence.
“As physicians, we are really concerned about the inaccurate misinformation that President Trump repeats day after day, multiple times a day,” said Fabrick, a family medicine doctor who has practiced in Muskegon for 26 years. “No matter what he claims, COVID-19 is still with us and it is still killing people.”
Muskegon County mirrors a statewide trend with coronavirus case report averages on the upswing, with 102 cases reported by the county last week. Although the county’s total case count is significantly lower than Wayne County’s, which holds the state’s top spot, it reports 8.48 cases per 100,000 residents compared to Wayne County’s 7.13.
“Instead of coming to Muskegon to continue spreading misinformation and packing people close together with COVID-19 cases going up, President Trump should cancel his campaign event and focus on fighting the pandemic with science and evidence,” said Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, which hosted the press conference. “As a physician, I’m concerned that his campaign events endanger public health, they have also become platforms for spreading medically inaccurate information that puts people’s lives at risk.”
Trump rallies in Michigan typically attract thousands, and the number of attendees have hardly decreased since the coronavirus outbreak. With figures indicating a potential for a significant outbreak, Davidson said cancelling the event is the responsible decision.
“A president’s words — and particularly this president’s words for the audience that he has captivated — can move people to act,” Davidson said. “President Trump has used his megaphone to give medically inaccurate misinformation that pushes people to behave in ways that endanger their health and the health of other people.”
Despite his recent coronavirus diagnosis and hospitalization, Trump has remained critical of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus precautions, and even called her a dictator. Recent polls show Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in Michigan as the election looms.
Trump narrowly lost Muskegon County to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Michigan remains one of the president’s focus points this election. The president last attended a Michigan rally Sept. 10 in Freeland and events held since featuring his sons, Vice President Mike Pence and Michigan’s own Kid Rock were decried for lack of COVID-19 precautions.
“A deadly pandemic that continues to cause a great deal of pain and suffering in Michigan should be a time when all of us follow the science, practice diligent safety behaviors and do everything we can to prevent infecting other people,” Davidson said. “This should also be a time when we must consider the consequences of our actions and whether holding a rally that will pack thousands of people shoulder to shoulder, mostly not wearing masks for several hours is a good idea when COVID-19 cases are going up and more people are getting sick.”
The event’s registration page has no explicit directions for attendees to wear masks or abide social distancing guidelines, instead a warning releasing the president of any liabilities:
“By registering for this event, you understand and expressly acknowledge that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release, and discharge Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; the host venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any illness or injury.”
The event is open to the public with admission to the site at FlyBy Air,103 Sinclair Dr., Muskegon, beginning at 2 p.m.
Contact Miriam Marini: email@example.com