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Public-Health Expert Weighs In on Trump Rally in Portsmouth

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This Saturday's Portsmouth, N.H., rally would be President Donald Trump's third since the COVID-19 outbreak. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times/Creative Commons)
This Saturday's Portsmouth, N.H., rally would be President Donald Trump's third since the COVID-19 outbreak. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times/Creative Commons)
July 9, 2020

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold an outdoor rally in Portsmouth on Sat., July 11, and it's raising concerns among health experts.

Dr. Ben Locwin, who consults with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19, said people have the right to express their beliefs, but he criticized Gov. Chris Sununu's decision not to require masks at Trump's event.

"Whether Sununu goes ahead to not choose to proceed with a mask mandate, it would be at the peril of the community at large," said Locwin, "because we know that would be a situation where the likelihood of infectious spread is much higher."

The Trump campaign announcement about the rally mentions that masks will be handed out to all attendees. The event is expected to take place at Portsmouth International Airport at 8 p.m. this Saturday.

Locwin, who also has worked with the Food and Drug Administration, including on COVID-19 therapies, described some measures that rally attendees can take to minimize risk.

"Distancing beats mask use, or any other measures," he said. "But in a case like this -- a rally -- necessarily, distancing is impossible and impracticable. So, the use of masks and face coverings is crucial."

Few attendees at the June 20 Trump rally in Tulsa, Okla., wore masks or attempted to socially distance.

The COVID-19 rate in New Hampshire is lower than other battleground states where the Trump campaign has considered holding rallies, including Florida and North Carolina.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH