President Trump’s upcoming campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma could become a coronavirus superspreading event.
Rally-goers have been asked to sign a waiver and “assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
But the event is risky for more than just those participants, since they could spread infections among the broader community, causing a further surge in cases.
Attendees are “endangering not just themselves but everyone they contact in the one to two weeks afterward,” one expert said.
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President Donald Trump will hold his first campaign rally in four months on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
But nearly 800 Oklahoma healthcare professionals have signed a letter urging the mayor of Tulsa to cancel the rally.
That’s because large, indoor gatherings can be the sites of coronavirus superspreader events — in which a small number of individuals infect a disproportionately large number of other people and cause a local outbreak.
“Allowing our city to be one of the first places in the world to host an indoor gathering of this magnitude is not a political matter, it is a public-health matter,” the letter said. “As our city and state COVID-19 numbers climb at a rate previously unseen, it is unthinkable that this is seen as a logical choice.”
The rally is slated to take place inside the BOK Center, an indoor venue that seats more than 19,000 people.
“These are exactly the sort of events that the coronavirus loves — large, indoor, mass gatherings where people are shoulder-to-shoulder — and so they need to be avoided,” William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, told Business Insider.
Even if attendees are willing to accept a risk of infection, other members of their surrounding communities are also put at risk by the event, since people who contract the virus at the rally are likely to pass it along to others.
“The virus has no political affiliation, and will spread beyond the rally,” Schaffner said.
The rally creates ideal conditions for coronavirus transmission
So far, superspreader events all share a few key characteristics: They involve indoor gatherings in which a lot of people from different households are in close, extended contact.
Research has found that the risk of coronavirus transmission is higher indoors in poorly ventilated spaces where lots of people have sustained contact. That’s because it primarily spreads via droplets that fly through the air when an infected person coughs, talks, sings, or sneezes.
“We know in these rallies people chant and cheer, politicians lead call and responses with the audience. When people yell, they exhale more vigorously, so if there’s an infected person there, they can spread droplets to many people around them,” Schaffner said of Trump’s planned rally.
A recent study found that talking loudly can produce enough droplets to transmit the coronavirus and that those droplets could linger in the air for at least eight minutes. Vigorous singing, too, has been linked to the …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics