Oklahoma surpassed its previous record for the number of new cases of coronavirus in a single day in the state on June 21, and the state's situation continues to escalate. The state counted 478 new cases of COVID-19 — the most in a single day since the outbreak began — and the biggest increase in a single day as well, with 143 more new cases than the previous day. Tulsa is among the states that public health experts have their eyes on as cases continue to skyrocket.
The Tulsa Health Department found that the detection of new coronavirus cases was on a "sharp incline" throughout June, according to a report by Newsweek. The seven-day rolling average went from 13.7 to 112.1 new cases between June 1 and June 21, ending with a total of at least 10,516 cases in the state so far. Oklahoma allowed its stay-at-home order to expire on May 6, and even allowed some businesses to reopen before that on April 24. It was also the host of Trump's first campaign rally in months.
"I do think there is a high risk of the Trump rally in Tulsa increasing risk [of further spreading the virus]," said epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding. Another infectious disease specialist, Peter Drobac, previously told Newsweek: "If you tried to design a superspreader event for COVID-19, it would look a lot like one of these rallies. It's perfectly designed to foster the spread of a respiratory virus. I worry about the risk to attendees, to their loved ones, and to the president."
Still, experts note that Oklahoma's reopening plan created a risk even before the rally, as other states have seen similar spikes. Oklahoma's neighbor to the south, Texas, is seeing such an extreme uptick in cases that the governor has re-instituted a suspension on elective surgeries and extended it, according to a report by CNBC, due to a potential shortage of hospital beds.
"We need to understand that COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks," Gov. Greg Abbot said on Sunday. He has also hinted that certain statistical thresholds may lead him to roll back Texas' reopening measures, potentially leading to another stay-at-home order and a curfew. Currently, Texas' reopening schedule is simply on hold. "At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars," Abbott warned in a press release.