GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — President Donald Trump will visit two areas of Wisconsin labeled as coronavirus “red zones” by the White House Coronavirus Task Force this weekend.
La Crosse and Green Bay, the two locations Trump will visit, have the highest level of concern for community spread of COVID-19, the Washington Post reports.
The task force has provided Wisconsin recommendations “that call for increasing social distancing in the state ‘to the maximal degree possible,'” according to the Post.
The task force document lists the state of Wisconsin as having the third-highest rate of new cases in the country.
During a COVID-19 briefing on Sept. 29, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was asked if there was anything that could be done ahead of Trump’s visit in light of the increase in cases.
“Absolutely, the president could do two things,” says Gov. Evers. “Number one is he could not come. The second thing that could be done is for him to insist that if people are there, they wear a mask. He could make that happen. He could wear one, too.”
On Sept. 25, the New York Times reported six Wisconsin metropolitan areas were among the top 20 in the nation seeing the greatest number of new coronavirus cases, relative to their population. Those include not only La Crosse and Green Bay, but the Oshkosh-Neenah area, Appleton, Platteville and Stevens Point. As of Sept. 30, there are two new Wisconsin metropolitan areas on that list — Marinette and Fond du Lac.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin reported over 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the last week, the third-highest in the nation behind Texas and California.
Trump has called wearing a mask “patriotic” and during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, said he will “put a mask on when I think I need it.”
During the debate, the president also claimed, falsely, that, “So far, we have had no problem whatsoever” at his campaign rallies.
“It’s outside, that’s a big difference according to the experts. We have tremendous crowds,” he said.
In late June, Trump held an indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, drawing both thousands of participants and large protests. The Tulsa City-County Health Department director said the rally “likely contributed” to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases there. By the first week of July, Tulsa County was confirming more than 200 new cases daily, setting record highs, more than twice the number seen the week before the rally.