As presidential elections campaigning in the United States reaches fever pitch, a study on US President Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' rallies have put spotlight back on coronavirus situation in the country. The study, conducted by Stanford University titled 'The Effects of Large Group Meetings on the Spread of COVID-19: The Case of Trump Rallies', has concluded that the US may have reported over 30,000 new COVID-19 cases and 700 deaths due to 18 of his election rallies in 2020.
"Our estimate of the average treatment effect across the eighteen events implies that they increased subsequently confirmed cases of COVID-19 by more than 250 per 100,000 residents. Extrapolating this figure to the entire sample, we conclude that these 18 rallies ultimately resulted in more than 30,000 incremental confirmed cases of COVID-19. Applying county-specific post-event death rates, we conclude that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths (not necessarily among attendees)," the study concluded.
The paper, written by Douglas Bernheim, Nina Buchmann, Zach Freitas-Groff, and Sebasti an Otero, stated that its 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 communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death," it said.
Meanwhile, Trump's presidential opponent Joe Biden has targeted him saying, "President Trump doesn't care about you (voters). He doesn't even care about his own supporters."
The United States remains the most-affected country, with over 94 lakh coronavirus cases and 2.36 lakh deaths so far. The Presidential elections in the US will be held on November 3. Both the candidates, Trump and Biden, have pulled all stops to woo voters in these elections.
This election in the US is going to be different in many ways. The overall coronavirus pandemic situation will play an important factor in polling this time. Voting logistics have also been different this time. As many as 23 states have expanded mail and early voting facilities for voters in the wake of the pandemic. Overall, around 84 per cent Americans have the facility to exercise their franchise via mail or early voting.