Networks boycott Trump event over his repeat breach of coronavirus guidelines

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  • Bob Woodward
    Bob Woodward
    American journalist
Donald Trump supporters attend a rally at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Nevada on 12 September. (AP)
Donald Trump supporters attend a rally at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Nevada on 12 September. (AP)

Several broadcasters won’t send camera crews inside Donald Trump’s indoor campaign events in Nevada over concerns that staff could be exposed to coronavirus.

CNN’s Brian Stelter, whose network will not be covering the president’s indoor rally on Sunday with its own camera crew, reports that news outlets have been forced to make “tough decisions about how to keep their staffers safe” while the president flouts public safety guidelines by increasing the risk of transmission among large groups at his indoor events.

“Major TV networks have decided not to send their camera crews inside, because they feel it will not be safe enough,” he said. “It’s not wise to go along with the president’s loosey-goosey approach."

The president has held six indoor campaign rallies in the month that followed after he had admitted to journalist Bob Woodward in a February interview that Covid-10 can be transmitted via the airborne virus.

“It goes through air, Bob,” the president said on 7 February, which was recorded and recently published in advance of his the journalist’s book Rage. "That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed … That’s very tricky one. That's a very delicate one."

In that same interview, the president admitted that the virus was "more deadly" than “even your strenuous flus” despite his public statements that downplayed the risk of transmission and falsely compared the fatality rates between flu and Covid-19 infections.

The president held six rallies between that interview and 2 March. He cancelled an event in Wisconsin scheduled for 19 March.

He told Mr Woodward on 19 March that he “wanted to always play it down.”

"I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," he said.

The president reignited his campaign with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 20 June. Moments before the event, the campaign announced that six staffers had tested positive for the virus and were isolated.

Health officials there linked a significant spike in infections to the rally and related events.

Few attendees at a campaign rally in Minden, Nevada on 12 September wore masks.

His rally was initially scheduled for Reno, but it was moved following warnings from the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority that a rally for 5,000 people in a private hangar would be in violation of the state’s current restrictions amid the pandemic. It also reportedly violated the terms of the company’s lease for the private hangar.

Nevada currently remains in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, limiting public and private gatherings to 50 people.

The state also requires residents wear face coverings when they are out in public and at public venues.

More than 193,000 Americans have died from Covid-19-related illness, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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