- President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies were linked to 30,000 coronavirus cases and “likely led to more than 700 deaths,” according to a new study by Stanford University economists.
- The paper focused on 18 campaign rallies held between June 20 and September 30.
- “The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death,” the authors of the study wrote.
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President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies “ultimately resulted in more than 30,000 incremental confirmed COVID-19 cases” and “likely led to more than 700 deaths,” according to a newly released study by Stanford University economists.
The paper, released on October 30, focused on 18 campaign rallies held between June 20 and September 30, in cities that included Tulsa, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, and Phoenix, comparing the host cities to parts of the county that didn’t feature Trump rallies. Three of the rallies that were studied were conducted indoors.
The findings of the study reveal the risks of not adhering to public health recommendations of mask wearing and social distancing, the authors stated.
“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 authors wrote. “The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death.”
When the coronavirus outbreak spread throughout the US in March, political rallies were immediately halted. Trump resumed holding rallies in June, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took a much more cautious approach, holding small, socially distanced events and outdoor drive-in rallies where people could remain in their cars.
Trump’s rallies have featured his trademark crowds, with masks distributed at events but not fully required for entrants. Trump, who announced his COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month, usually attends his rallies without a mask.
The Biden campaign quickly seized on the findings of the report, saying that Trump has taken a trivial approach to managing the outbreak.
“How many more empty seats are there at kitchen tables across America because of Donald Trump’s ego?,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Gates said in a statement. “Donald Trump doesn’t even care about the very lives of his strongest supporters.”
Courtney Parella, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary, defended the campaign’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, saying that rally attendees are required to undergo temperature checks and are given hand sanitizer.
“Americans have the right to gather under the First Amendment to hear from the President of the United States, and we take strong precautions for our campaign events,” she said.
Earlier in October, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that Trump should not hold rallies where people without masks are in close contact with others.
“We know that that is asking for trouble, when you do that,” he said.
Nearly 230,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the US, with over nine million infections throughout the country, according to The New York Times.