NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — President Donald Trump is heading to Hampton Roads on Friday.
The rally Friday night will be at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport at 9 p.m., and the event will feature former congressman Scott Taylor, who’s running again against Democrat Elaine Luria in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Politico reported that Trump is looking to use the opportunity to reach out to more voters in North Carolina, but radio host John Fredericks said he believes Virginia is still in play.
Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in Virginia in 2016 with 49.7% of the popular vote compared to Trump’s 44.4%.
Trump visited Newport News back in 2017 to speak at Newport News Shipbuilding, and was also in Hampton Roads last year to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first assembly at Jamestown.
The president continues to hold in-person events across the country, with most people in attendance without masks and close together.
At a packed, mostly mask-less event on Monday night, the president falsely claimed that COVID-19 “affects virtually nobody,” specifically talking about younger people.
“It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That’s what it really affects,” the president said. “You know, in some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing. By the way, open your schools, everybody, open your schools.”
In an interview with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, Trump said the virus affected “plenty of young people” while he acknowledged downplaying the virus that’s killed more than 200,000 Americans.
“Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob,” Trump told Woodward. “But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older.”
Health experts now say people under the age of 18 are at a greater risk of becoming sick and spreading the virus that first thought, and while children have a much smaller chance of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 compared to adults, child deaths have been reported. Just last week Virginia reported its first child death due to COVID-19 .
Virus spread concerns locally
Meanwhile Newport News and the rest of Hampton Roads have made major strides in reducing virus spread, reducing the region’s percent positivity below 7% after a surge in cases after Fourth of July, but health experts fear these packed rallies (even outdoor ones) can lead to surges in cases. North Carolina health officials are urging the estimated 5,600 people who attended a rally Saturday in Fayetteville to get tested.
Like other Trump rallies, the event page requires attendees to sign a waiver that releases the campaign and venue from liability if a person catches COVID-19.
“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,” it reads. “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.”
Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. Friday. It’s unclear how many people will be allowed to attend, but tickets are on a first-come-first-served basis. Virginia currently has a 250-person limit on gatherings.
To register, click here.
On Wednesday, Black Lives Matter 757 said it would protest the president’s visit.
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