President Trump has had a dramatically different approach to the coronavirus than other elected officials. Instead of following the advice of health officials, he's continued to hold massive rallies that ignore social distancing policies. Per new research, this stubbornness could have resulted in unnecessary coronavirus infections and deaths.
A new paper posted by Standford researchers claims that more than 30,000 can be linked back to Trump rallies. This COVID-19 data is based on 18 Trump rallies—only three of which were indoors—held between June 20 and Sept. 22. Researchers compared the counties that hosted these rallies to others that had similar coronavirus trajectories before the event. The study showed a dramatic spike in cases for counties that held the rallies which could have resulted in more than 700 deaths.
"The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death," Chairman of Stanford’s economics department and a lead author of the paper, B. Douglas Bernheim, wrote per CNBC. The paper also claims that this research supports the theory that COVID-19 can be spread at higher rates through large groups of people "particularly when the degree of compliance with guidelines concerning the use of masks and social distancing is low."
It is important to note that this research was not subjected to peer review before it was published. In response to the claims, Trump campaign spokesperson Courtney Parella said "Americans have the right to gather under the First Amendment to hear from the President of the United States."
"We take strong precautions for our campaign events, requiring every attendee to have their temperature checked, providing masks they’re instructed to wear, and ensuring access to plenty of hand sanitizer," Parella said. "We also have signs at our events instructing attendees to wear their masks."
On the other side of the ballot, a spokesperson for Joe Biden’s campaign responded by saying the president is "costing hundreds of lives and sparking thousands of cases with super spreader rallies that only serve his own ego."
"The worst part is that this doesn’t even capture Trump’s many superspreader events on White House grounds or the last five weeks of events across the country," spokesperson Andrew Bates said. "How many more lives have been upended in that time? How many more empty seats are there at kitchen tables across America because of Donald Trump’s ego?"
This comes after the United States set a record for most cases in a day on Friday with 99,321 confirmed cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, this brings the seven-day average of daily new cases to a new high at 78,738.