Stanford researchers ran the numbers and linked Trump rallies to 700 deaths, with the depressing kicker that these were “not necessarily among attendees.”

Of the many circumstances at which historians will look back upon 2020 and say, “What on earth were these people thinking?,” few will be as baffling as the protests and hostility toward public health measures during a once-in-a-century deadly pandemic. This sentiment has found its purest distillation in mobbed, maskless Trump rallies held in terrible weather, that the untrained eye would say are likely coronavirus super-spreader events.

Academic research now corroborates the hunch that these are certainly superspreader events, as the Bay Area News Group reports on a Stanford study that Trump rallies have resulted in 30,000 “confirmed cases of COVID-19,” and pin the Trump rally body count at about 700 fatalities.

KTVU has a link to the full text of the study, which covers a three-month period of Trump rallies. “We conclude that these eighteen rallies ultimately resulted in more than 30,000 incremental confirmed cases of COVID-19,” the analysis says. “Applying county specific post-event death rates, we conclude that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths (not necessarily among attendees).”

That “not necessarily among attendees” is a pretty heartbreaking parenthetical stinger.

This study is separate from the CNN analysis that found 82% of counties that hosted Trump rallies had COVID-19 spikes. The Stanford analysis compared counties that held Trump rallies with similarly populated counties that had not, and concluded that “The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death.”

We should note this is not a peer-reviewed study and it has not yet been accepted for publication in any academic journals. Further, the researchers in the study are all economists, not epidemiologists. But they are all PhDs or PhD candidates, and frankly, their conclusion reflects exactly what a reasonable person would suspect would be happening here if a third of the country were not operating under a delusion perpetuated by their barely elected president that this virus is nothing to fear and to wear a mask is somehow to show weakness.  

Even the Trump campaign itself seems to realize this is what’s happening here, considering that they make people sign liability waivers before they can attend these rallies.

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Image: Supporters arrive for a President Donald rally on November 02, 2020 in Avoca, Pennsylvania. Donald Trump is crossing the crucial state of Pennsylvania in the last days of campaigning before Americans go to the polls on November 3rd to vote. Trump is currently trailing his opponent Joe Biden in most national polls. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)