Health officials warn of public health threat in Newport News President Trump rally

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Posted at 12:56 PM, Sep 25, 2020

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Health officials warned of a public health threat Friday, as a rally for President Trump is expected to bring thousands to the Newport News/ Williamsburg International Airport.

The rally has an estimated attendance of 4,000 people.

In a letter, Department of Public Health District Director, Natasha Dwamena, said that large of a gathering would break Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order, banning gatherings of more than 250 people.

In that letter, Dwamena said the rally poses a "concerning public health risk," and she requests for the event to be canceled, rescheduled, or scaled down.

A Trump campaign official told a CBS 6 sister station, WTKR, that every rally attendee would get a temperature check prior to admission, would have access to plenty of hand sanitizer, and would be provided masks -- which they were encouraged to wear.

In response to concern from health officials, Courtney Parella, Deputy National Press Secretary for Donald Trump, sent CBS 6 the following statement:

"If people can riot in the streets, loot from small businesses, or, in the Virginia governor’s case, take a mask-less stroll along the beach, then they can peacefully gather under the First Amendment to hear the president of the United States address the American people.”

Doors for the rally are expected to open 6 p.m. with the event starting at 9 p.m.