Wisconsin gov tells Trump to require masks at state rallies — or skip them

'This is not a hoax,' Gov. Tony Evers said of the coronavirus

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Gov. Tony Evers suggested President Trump skip two campaign rallies in Wisconsin this weekend, as spiking coronavirus cases and record hospitalizations strain the state's resources.

That's the first of two options the Democratic governor suggested to reporters on Tuesday for the events, which health experts say raise the risk of COVID-19 infections. “The second thing that could be done is for him to insist that if people are there, they wear a mask," Evers said.

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Evers has repeatedly slammed state Republicans for flouting mask mandates and not practicing social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

On Tuesday, Evers warned people throughout his state to "get on the same team," as medical authorities announced hospitalizations had reached a record high of 640, over three times the amount from a week prior.

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Wisconsin, which has the third-highest number of new cases per capita in the country, also hit its highest single-day increase in deaths from COVID-19 since May.

“We are in crisis right now,” Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin's chief medical officer, said on Tuesday.

Trump is scheduled to hold campaign rallies in Green Bay and La Crosse on Saturday, which both have high rates of new cases and are nearing hospital capacity.

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“We have to have people who believe that this is not a hoax, that this is a real thing and that people are dying from this disease,” Evers said. “It’s unacceptable that we just blow it off. We need leadership at the national level that are consistent in this effort. ... We have to have people in charge talk the truth.”

As of Tuesday, nearly 120,000 people in the state had tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic. There have been 1,300 deaths, up by 17 since Monday. The death count is the 30th highest in the country overall and the 42nd highest per capita, at 22 deaths per 100,000 people.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.