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Study: Trump rallies may have caused 30,000 COVID-19 cases, 700 deaths in those communities

Study examines impact of Trump rallies on coronavirus cases
Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 18:52:24-05

As many public health experts have expressed concern over President Donald Trump's re-election rallies amid the coronavirus pandemic, a study conducted by Stanford University examined the number of illnesses stemming from the rallies.

According to the study published last week, the rallies likely caused 30,000 other coronavirus-related infections, resulting in 700 deaths. The study's authors noted that these cases were not specifically from rally attendees, which means that attendees could have spread the virus to others.

The study did not use contact tracing; instead, they relied on a statistical model that analyzes the virus's spread in communities Trump held rallies.

Specifically, researchers examined 18 rallies Trump held from June 20 to Sept. 22, noting that coronavirus cases in the area near the rallies increased by more than 250 per 100,000 residents.

"Our analysis strongly supports the warnings and recommendations of public health officials concerning the risk of COVID-19 transmission at large group gatherings, particularly when the degree of compliance with guidelines concerning the use of masks and social distancing is low," the study's authors said. "The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death."

Trump's rallies have generally included thousands of supporters standing shoulder to shoulder. While masks are often handed to supporters, most supporters at rallies opt not to wear them.

Public health experts say that a combination of masks and keeping six feet of distance helps minimize the virus's spread, which has claimed more than 230,000 American lives since the spring.

Public health experts have also encouraged people to hold gatherings outside, as most Trump rallies since he resumed campaigning in June have been held outdoors with a few exceptions.

Trump has often mocked his opponent Joe Biden, who has held much smaller events to spread out the crowd. Biden has held several "drive-in" style events.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose recent disagreements with Trump have boiled over on the campaign trail, said in an interview with CNN, he was troubled by Trump's rallies.

"We know that is asking for trouble when you do that," Fauci told. "We've seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves."

To read the full study, click here.