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A public health expert said ahead of the nearing election, candidates must avoid hosting 'large gatherings like rallies'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/4/2020 ydzhanova@businessinsider.com (Yelena Dzhanova)
a group of people posing for the camera: People cheer as Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters before President Donald Trump took the stage during a Keep America Great rally on February 20, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images © Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images People cheer as Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters before President Donald Trump took the stage during a Keep America Great rally on February 20, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
  • With just weeks to go before the presidential election, a public health expert on Sunday warned that rallies and other large gatherings should be avoided. 
  • "There is clear danger in having events where there are many people close together without wearing masks for a long period of time, especially where loud voices are used," said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • Inglesby's remarks come two days after the Trump 2020 campaign said that the president will stop holding in-person campaign events like rallies.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A public health expert warned Sunday that even ahead of November's presidential election, "large gatherings like rallies shouldn't be happening at this point for any purpose."

"I think there is clear danger in having events where there are many people close together without wearing masks for a long period of time, especially where loud voices are used," said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, on "Fox News Sunday."

Inglesby's remarks come two days after the Trump 2020 campaign said it will cease holding in-person campaign events like rallies that drew tens of thousands of attendees. 

President Donald Trump's campaign has for months defied guidance from health officials as the massive rallies were held with no enforcement of social distancing or mask requirements. Experts warned that a Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally held indoors in June would likely contribute to a surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Trump previously told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was "not at all concerned" about contracting the coronavirus during his rallies because he is "very far away" from the crowd. Business Insider's Oma Seddiq previously reported that Trump waved off the concerns before thousands of supporters gathered for an indoor rally on September 14 in Henderson, Nevada. 

Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. Shortly after his diagnosis, Trump was transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, located just outside of Washington, DC.

The coronavirus is spreading through the White House, with multiple people close to Trump announcing that they tested positive for the virus

A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that Pence and his wife Karen have both tested negative. Pence will continue to hold and attend rallies, according to the Trump 2020 campaign schedule. Pence is expected to head to Arizona for a rally Thursday, one day after facing off against Sen. Kamala Harris in the upcoming vice presidential debate.  

Jason Miller, senior advisor to the Trump 2020 campaign, said Sunday that Pence has "no concerns at all" about contracting the virus while on the campaign trail or the debate stage. Miller also slammed former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask. "I think too often he's used the mask as a prop," Miller said about Biden.

Inglesby also cautioned that the upcoming debates should not be in-person events, saying that "the vice presidential debates, and if there are presidential debates, should be virtual." 

"In my mind it seems like the vice president should be in quarantine," Inglesby said, referencing Pence. "I don't think it's a proper risk to take to have him gathering with Sen. Harris."

The coronavirus has infected more than 7.3 million people nationwide, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. At least 209,000 people in the United States have died from it.

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