Local leaders talk COVID-19 risk ahead of campaign rally

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Health experts want people to remember the “Three W’s” ahead of Thursday’s presidential rally.

Wear, wait and wash.

It’s the same message health leaders have preached since the pandemic started.

However, if the rally at the Pitt-Greenville Airport is anything like recent events, it might be hard to find people wearing masks and social distancing.

Pitt County Health Director John Silvernail says anything you bring a large group of people together, there’s a risk COVID-19 could spread.

The doctor says because of security concerns surround President Donald Trump’s visit, local health officials have not been involved in planning.

“We don’t really have the authority to stop [the rally],” said Silvernail. “This is a presidential event. It’s a First Amendment-protected event.”

The doctor believes Pitt County has had a handle on COVID-19 cases and he would hate to see another spike.

“We have been lucky,” said Silvernail. “We did not see [a spike] after labor day…I’m going to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst if cases do happen to rise.”

There are other large gatherings happening tomorrow.

Groups opposing the President will hold events in Greenville tied to tomorrow’s start of early voting.

Silvernail says if we do see a bump in cases, it will take up to two weeks to determine if it’s connected to those gatherings.

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