Less than two weeks after claiming he had tested positive for COVID-19, Donald Trump plans a presidential campaign rally in Des Moines, even as Iowa surpasses 100,000 cases of the deadly virus.
Trump, who received medical care unavailable to most Americans after saying he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month — including a treatment that uses human stem cells, but not the hydroxychlorquine he previously touted — now claims he is “immune” to the virus, although his doctors are not saying he has tested negative.
Supporters registering for the event receive the following warning: “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 rally will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Des Moines International Airport, opening to the public at 3 p.m.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has never required face masks to be worn in Iowa, repeatedly stating that she trusts Iowans to “do the right thing,” even as she has been photographed without a mask at public events, where there is no social distancing, two factors that medical experts say can reduce the spread of the virus.
As of 9 a.m. Oct. 12, Iowa reported 100,044 cases of COVID-19, and 1,462 deaths. More than 100 Iowans have died of the coronavirus since Oct. 1 alone, when 1,360 deaths had been recorded.
In the past week, positive cases have soared past levels Iowa had reached at the height of the pandemic in May, with a record number of 461 hospitalized patients on Oct. 9, and a new record high number of nursing home outbreaks — 57 — set that same day.
Just two days prior, on Oct. 7, Iowa had a record number of hospital admissions, with 97 Iowans admitted for COVID-19.
As of Oct. 12, 17 counties reported a 15 percent or higher positivity rate average during the past two weeks, with Taylor County topping the list with 26.2 percent, bumping Lyon County in far northwest Iowa, which held the top spot since late September, at times surpassing a 30 percent positivity rate.
Reynolds, who touts her “pro-life” stance, has resisted recommendations to stem the spiraling case numbers and deaths, even as the White House coronavirus task force has repeatedly recommended that Iowa impose a statewide mask mandate.
“COVID-19 is being brought into nursing homes through community transmission,” the report noted.
More than half of Iowa’s coronavirus deaths — 740 as of Oct. 12 — have been tied to long-term care facilities.
After the hurricane-strength derecho windstorm wreaked havoc through Iowa in August, Trump made a brief stop at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, but never left the site to tour the damage and didn’t meet with supporters.
See photos from that event: Trump makes brief stop in Cedar Rapids.