Report: 11 Trump Rallies Were Followed By County-Level Increases In COVID Cases

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In 11 of the 22 counties where Trump rallies were held from June to September, a rise in COVID cases followed.

An analysis by the Center for American Progress has found that coronavirus cases increased in 11 of the 22 counties where President Trump held campaign rallies from June to September.

In addition, at least 26 individual coronavirus cases have been linked directly to participation in Trump rallies during the same period.

To examine whether Trump’s rallies were associated with heightened cases, the authors used county-level data on COVID-19 positive cases from The New York Times. For each of the 22 rallies Trump held between June and September, the authors looked at a chart of daily new cases and the seven-day moving average of new cases during the 21 days before and after the rally. The full set of charts is available at the end of this column as an appendix.

In 11 instances, there was a post-event increase above the pre-event trend, with an increase defined as either new case counts rising up following a pre-event decrease or plateau or new case counts accelerating above a steady, pre-event increase.

The authors found unambiguous increases after rallies in Mankato, Minnesota; Bemidji, Minnesota; Henderson, Nevada; Londonderry, New Hampshire; Swanton, Ohio; Middletown, Pennsylvania; Old Forge, Pennsylvania; and Newport News, Virginia. The increase in the county case count trend was more subtle after the rallies in Vandalia, Ohio; Latrobe, Pennsylvania; and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

  • The authors noted that “A post-event increase was more common in counties that started with lower levels of COVID-19.”
  • CAP “found that only 3 of the 11 communities (27 percent) with higher pre-event incidence (19 new cases per day per 100,000 population) saw an increase.”
  • “Among the communities with lower pre-event incidence (5.8 new cases per day per 100,000 population), 8 of the 11 counties (73 percent) had an increase in new COVID-19 cases following a rally," the report stated.
  • Another factor cited was county size, as those in the “high-incidence group were larger, with an average population of nearly 1 million, compared with about 320,000 in the low-incidence group.”
  • The authors noted that while data suggest a link between Trump rallies and an increase in community spread, determining a causal connection proves difficult, as other factors (like school reopenings) could play a part.
  • However, it is well established that failing to follow public health guidelines, such as mask-wearing and social distancing — both of which are routinely flouted at Trump rallies — only serves to invite community spread of the virus.

Read the full report.


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