The Republican governor said he is currently isolated from his family and working from home. He resisted calls to cancel Oklahoma’s current plans to reopen, which are being tested by a viral resurgence.
“Going back and refueling does not remove” the virus, said Stitt, adding “It is far too premature to think of slowing down or saving” the reopening.
Stitt is one of the many Republican governors across the country who have spoken out particularly when asked whether coronavirus safety recommendations from public health experts were really necessary.
Late last month, Stitt said that Oklahomans “should just learn to live with” the deadly coronavirus. The term “learning to live with” has grown in popularity during this latest spike in coronavirus cases nationwide, as a sort of alternative theory to aggressive public health action.
Repeated by Trump and other Republican governors, this phrase reflects a non-interventionist approach to government intervention aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
As recently as late June, as cases in Oklahoma were increasing, Stitt responded to a question about a possible mask warrant by saying, “I’m still reluctant to mandate things.”
Stitt’s diagnosis came weeks after President Donald Trump organized a controversial campaign rally in Tulsa, where Stitt was photographed without a mask alongside thousands of supporters of the President all nearby, despite warnings from officials of the local health that the event could lead to a wave of Covid19 transmission.
Herman Cain, another top Republican who attended the rally, tested positive for the virus on July 1, less than two weeks later. Two days after his diagnosis, Cain’s symptoms became so severe that he was hospitalized. The 74-year-old former presidential candidate is still battling the disease at an Atlanta area hospital on Wednesday.
Cain had posted a photo of him in the Tulsa arena surrounded by other participants, none of whom appeared to be wearing masks.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.