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Dr. Celine Gounder, a prominent infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist, said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE's Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore is "beyond irresponsible" as the nation sees record-breaking outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

"I'm highly concerned. This is beyond irresponsible," Gounder, CNN's medical analyst, said when asked what she thought of the Friday evening event. 

"This is the behavior of a cult leader who is jumping off the cliff, except he's jumping off into a safety net where he has protections around him. People around him are being tested. He's being tested on a regular basis. While he asks his followers to jump off a cliff into nothing," she continued. "I mean this is extremely dangerous behavior and unfortunately, this has become so politicized where you abide by public health and scientific recommendations on the basis of your political beliefs not based on the science. And people are really going to be harmed as a result of this."

Trump will attend a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on Friday, where thousands are expected to gather without mask or social distancing requirements. South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemSecond tribal leader calls for removal of Mount Rushmore before Trump visit South Dakota governor: Masks are optional at Mount Rushmore event Trump's attending Pentagon announces July 4th flyovers across northeast MORE (R) also confirmed this week that social distancing would not be enforced at the event.

Gounder joins other health experts who have expressed concerns that the holiday celebrations will be a breeding ground for COVID-19 cases at a time when many states are seeing back-to-back days of record-breaking case numbers. 

Meanwhile, indigenous leaders in the area — which was sacred land to local tribes before gold was discovered and Native Americans were forced off — have also expressed concerns over coronavirus and some have even called for the removal of the Mount Rushmore monument altogether. 

"Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore,” Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said in a statement.

Wildfire experts are also worried the event has more than a 60 percent chance of causing a forest fire.

“Burning debris, the burning embers and unexploded shells fall into a ponderosa pine forest and ponderosa pine is extremely flammable,” Bill Gabbert, former fire management officer for Mount Rushmore and six other national parks in the region, told the Rapid City Journal. “Shooting fireworks over a ponderosa pine forest, or any flammable vegetation, is ill advised and should not be done. Period.” 

  Tags Donald Trump Kristi Noem Infectious disease Trump Mount Rushmore

News Source: thehill.com

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Leaked Data From Iran Shows A Massive COVID-19 Death Coverup

Though Iran has long been dogged with accusations that the Middle Eastern nation has been lying about the true number of coronavirus-related deaths, a new breach in its records appears to finally confirm the allegations as fact.

According to the BBC, an anonymous source working within the Iranian government sent the news agency documents to show the extent of the cover-up.

One of the most staggering was the true number of deaths due to COVID-19, which were triple the official tally. As of July 20, the Iranian health ministry has claimed that 14,405 people died from the disease; however, internal data revealed that the number was actually 42,000.

Similarly, though Iran has claimed that there had only been 278,827 recorded cases in the country, the leaked documents showed that 451,000 individuals have been infected.

The leak also noted that the first death from COVID-19 occurred on January 22. However, Iran did not even acknowledge the first case of the virus until nearly a month later, on February 19. During those 28 days, 52 more people died from a disease that they did not believe was even present in the nation.

An anonymous Iranian doctor with knowledge of the situation claimed that part of the discrepancy was due to the fact that the health ministry had been both “in denial” about the dire state of affairs and under enormous pressure to paint a rosy picture of the situation by the government — especially since the security service had continued to claim that the virus did not exist in the country.

“Initially they did not have testing kits and when they got them, they weren’t used widely enough. The position of the security services was not to admit to the existence of coronavirus in Iran,” the doctor explained.

  Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Moreover, the timing of the pandemic was happening shortly after many citizens in Iran had taken to the streets to protest both the administration and the struggling economy.

Dr Nouroldin Pirmoazzen, a former MP who also was an official at the health ministry, added that authorities were nervous that the presence of a medical crisis would only make a volatile situation worse.

“The government was afraid that the poor and the unemployed would take to the streets,” Pirmoazzen explained.

However, ignoring the crisis only worsened it — as even top officials succumbed to the disease.

Earlier this spring, satellite images revealed that cemeteries had been drastically expanded — seemingly confirming the rumors of COVID-19. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the alleged burial sites are so large that they can be seen from outer space.

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