At the time of a planned political rally in Tulsa with the president, the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s epidemiologist, sent an email titled: “How strongly do I speak out?”
“I am concerned that the mass indoor gathering in Tulsa of 19,000 people will directly lead to deaths in Oklahoma,” Aaron Wendelboe stated in the email, one of dozens obtained by The Hill. “As the state epidemiologist, I feel I have a responsibility to speak out and warn of the estimated risk.”
In an internal risk analysis, Wendelboe, who left the department after his contract expired this summer, estimated that the event would likely lead to “at least 2 deaths and probably closer to 10.” It is unclear if Wendelboe’s risk assessment was shared with Gov. Kevin Stitt, though the internal documents show there was communication between the state health department and the governor’s office.
Wendelboe referred questions about his warnings to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Neither the health department nor Stitt’s office commented for this article.
A member of the Tulsa City-County Board of Health wrote on his concerns that “some of our most prominent elected officials are intentionally misinforming the public about what the data say about the current surge in cases.”