The close of election season is upon us. A new study found that this is particularly good news for epidemiologists, as U.S. presidential rallies were associated with an increase in COVID19 cases.
In a recent study, scientists looked at the change in COVID19 cases across 20 counties that hosted rallies from August to September 2020. They compared the change in COVID19 cases to US counties that did not host a rally.
What did they find?
-On average, COVID19 increased in host counties by 50% compared to non-host counties
-Peak increase was 5 days post-rally (which is consistent with the time interval from infection to detection)
-The county with the highest COVID19 increase was Lackawanna PA (a 3.8 fold increase in COVID19). Before the rally, this county had the 2nd lowest number of COVID19 cases per 100,000.
-2 out of the 20 counties (Saginaw MI and Yuma AZ) had a DECREASE in county-level COVID19 cases
-The county with an indoor gathering had an increase, but the relative increase in cases was higher in 9 outdoor counties.
Translation: Mass gatherings outdoors OR in counties with low incidence did not entirely prevent the spread of COVID19. Additional public health measures, ensuring multiple layers of protection, must be taken.