As COVID-19 cases—and deaths— continue to rise in the United States, findings from a new Stanford University study show that there have been at least 30,000 coronavirus infections and 700 deaths as a result of 18 Trump campaign rallies held from June 20 to September 30, Politico reports.
According to Nina Buchmann, one of the study’s authors, “the average treatment effect implies that the 18 rallies subsequently increased confirmed cases by more than 250 per 100,000 residents. Extrapolating to the population, the rallies resulted in more than 30,000 incremental COVID-19 cases.”
The New York Times reports that some public health officials claim that it is impossible to tie the rise in COVID cases to Trump rallies for several reasons, including: “rally attendees often travel from other locations, contact tracing is not always complete, and contact tracers do not always know where infected people have been.”
B. Douglas Bernheim, the chair of Stanford’s economics department, believes that the study is critical to informing the current discourse around the measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“There’s currently this very important debate going on about the costs and benefits of lockdowns, restrictions and so forth,” Bernheim said. “It’s important that debate be informed by good information.”
While the results of the study are arguably disconcerting, they are not surprising. President Trump has eschewed the science from the start of the pandemic, instead politicizing his administration’s response, even as he received treatment for COVID-19 himself.
“I think the data speak for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House,” Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, said during an interview with CBS News. “And it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks, so the data speak for themselves.”
About 30 people contracted the virus following the White House event, including Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway, former White House senior adviser, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina).
The Recklessness Is Obvious
Former President Barack Obama cited the Stanford study at a campaign stop in Flint, Michigan, saying: “Some of the places he holds rallies have even shown spikes after he leaves town. What is his obsession with crowd size. This is the one measure he has of success. He’s still worried about his inauguration crowd being smaller than mine. Does he have nothing else to worry about?”
Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain died from COVID-19 complications approximately one month after attending the Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20. He was hospitalized for more than three weeks before succumbing to the virus. Cain, like many others at the event, was seen not social distancing and not wearing a mask.