An emergency room doctor described the behavior of the people who attended a crowded, indoor rally for former President Donald Trump as extremely dangerous and stupid amid soaring COVID-19 case rates in the area.
“If you make a dumb decision about your own health, on one level you could say, ‘Well, it’s your life,’” said Dr. Murtaza Akhter, who works on the COVID-19 frontline with Valleywise Health in Phoenix. “But when it’s infectious disease that’s this contagious and affects so many people, you’re not just affecting yourself, you’re affecting everybody around you.”
Akhter made the comments after viewing footage of the packed “Protect Our Election” rally held at the Arizona Federal Theater over the weekend. Thousands of mostly maskless people crowded together as Trump and right-wing figures took the stage to continue his “stolen election” fiction and push anti-mask, anti-science rhetoric.
Footage on CNN showed MAGA merch-clad supporters yelling at the camera, “No masks! No masks! Take off the masks!”
Akhter said he had no doubt that there would be an increase in cases following the event.
In Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, just 42% of people have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. New daily cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks as the highly infectious delta variant rapidly spreads around the state and country, predominantly infecting and causing serious illness to unvaccinated people.
Watch the interview below:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.