President Trump will travel to Wisconsin this weekend for two large outdoor campaign rallies, even as the White House coronavirus task force warned that the state is in the “red zone” for new cases and that “intense virus transmission is seen throughout the state.”
“To the maximal degree possible, increase social distancing mitigation measures until cases decline,” the task force urged Wisconsin officials in a Sept. 27 report obtained by The Times.
On Wednesday, officials in Wisconsin reported 26 new deaths, a single-day record. The previous record was 22, reported on May 27.
Mr. Trump, who trails former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the polls in a state he narrowly won in 2016, will speak at airports in La Crosse on Saturday and Green Bay on Sunday, his campaign website says. Both areas are categorized in the report as red zones themselves.
The president’s rallies have often prompted criticism from public health authorities about the lack of social distancing and the absence of masks. One held on Sept. 17 in Mosinee, Wis., drew an estimated 5,000 people.
After that event, the White House task force warned officials in Wisconsin that the virus was surging in their state and advised them to become more vigilant.
“Wisconsin has continued to see a rapid worsening of the epidemic in the last week with the governor declaring a health emergency,” the report said. The state’s rate of new cases in the past week is the country’s third highest.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier reported that Mr. Trump was going ahead with the rallies despite the warnings.
On Tuesday, during the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump boasted about the rallies and mocked Mr. Biden for avoiding large in-person events. “We have tremendous crowds as you see and, literally, on 24 hours notice, and Joe does the circles and has three people someplace,” Mr. Trump said.