Donald Trump’s campaign rallies have been linked to tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths as the U.S. president continues to hold major events just three days before the November 3rd vote, according to a report from Stanford University.
The report released on Friday by researchers at Stanford’s economics division looked at COVID-19 infection rates in 18 locations across the country where Trump held campaign rallies between June 20 and September 30.
Post-rally infection rates in those counties were then compared with COVID-19 case rates in 18 comparable counties that did not have rallies.
The rallies “ultimately resulted in more than 30,000 incrementally confirmed cases of COVID-19” and “likely resulted in more than 700 deaths,” the researchers noted.
These deaths were not necessarily people who attended the rallies, the study explained, but were related to cases that emerged from the events.
“Our analysis strongly supports the warnings and recommendations of public health officials regarding the risk of COVID-19 transmission in large group meetings,” the report said. “The communities where Trump rallies took place paid a heavy price for sickness and death.”
Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, described the report as “suggestive”.
“I would just say that it is obvious but difficult to completely isolate the specific impact of an event without reliable contact details from the cases,” Adalja told Reuters.
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request to comment on the report.
More than nine million cases
The US has had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world since the pandemic began. According to a balance sheet by Johns Hopkins University, more than nine million infections and more than 230,000 deaths have been registered in connection with the novel coronavirus.
Several states across the country are currently grappling with spikes in cases as well as a dramatic increase in hospital stays, and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in hard-hit areas are urging people to stay at home to help contain the spread of the virus.
Despite these realities, Trump has continued to downplay the COVID-19 threat and insist that the pandemic “round off the turnaround,” falsely claiming that the number of new cases is actually decreasing across the country.
The communities where Trump rallies were held paid a heavy price for illness and death
During a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Trump mocked his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden for criticizing his administration’s handling of the pandemic.
“I saw Joe Biden speak yesterday. He only talks about COVID, COVID. He has nothing else to say. COVID, COVID, “Trump told the crowd.
The president also suggested on Friday that doctors increase coronavirus deaths in the US to make money – another false claim made by the country’s largest group of doctors and medical students, the American Medical Association (AMA), upset.
“Our doctors get more money when someone dies of COVID. You know that right? I mean, our doctors are very smart people. So they say, “I’m sorry, but everyone is dying of COVID,” Trump said at a rally in Michigan without citing any evidence.
Joe Biden hosted an event in Michigan on Saturday with former President Barack Obama [Andrew Harnik/AP]The AMA called the president’s comments “malicious, outrageous and utterly misguided”.
“Rather than attacking us and bringing unfounded charges against doctors, our leaders should follow science and demand compliance with public health steps we know about – wear a mask, wash hands and practice physical distancing,” the group said in one Explanation.
Biden also slammed the president’s claim about the doctors on Saturday.
“What the hell is wrong with this man? Excuse my language. But think about it. He can believe it because he doesn’t do anything but for money, ”Biden said with former President Barack Obama at a drive-in rally in Flint, Michigan.
The Biden campaign said Saturday that the results of the Stanford University report show that Trump “doesn’t even care about the lives of his strongest supporters.”