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How risky is it to attend a Trump campaign rally during a pandemic?

June 19, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

As the coronavirus plows through the United States, health experts worry President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will become a new hotspot for coronavirus infections.

(CNN)As the coronavirus plows through the United States, health experts worry President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will become a new hotspot for coronavirus infections.

"We know what makes transmission of the virus occur more frequently, and that includes close contact, particularly without masking, crowds, [being] indoors versus outdoors, the duration of the contact, and then shouting also increases the possibility of transmission," said Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

There are people coming in from far away to go to the rally, so they'll be returning to their home cities, and so that we may see spread outside of the Tulsa area. "

"You can do some basic numbers to work out how many people will be there that are infected," he said.

Being indoors, he said, increases the risk of transmission about 20-fold.

So while a single individual on average spreads the virus to two to three other people, in this scenario -- a packed arena where there's a lot of shouting and possibly little mask-wearing -- each of those 20 attendees shedding a lot of virus could potentially infect 40 to 50 people, Bromage said.

Those 800 to 1,000 newly infected people go home, possibly out of state, and potentially spread it even more.

While the demographics of the people who make it into the BOK area are unknown, it's a fair bet that many will be from, if not Tulsa, then Oklahoma, which in terms of health ranks low compared to other states, said Karen Dawn, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at George Washington University.

But none of the experts CNN spoke with said those measures will be enough, especially since an infected person is typically shedding virus two days before showing symptoms and many people are asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

Apparently public health experts aren't the only ones with concerns about the potential for the rally to spread the coronavirus: Rally registrants have to sign waivers saying that they won't sue if they come down with Covid-19.

"The people who come to the rally, they don't care about them except as a photo op, because they're going to kill some of them and some of their family and friends," Caplan said during an appearance on CNN Newsroom this week.

And so I worry -- as we come out of hiding and we start interacting with more and more people, we are increasing our risk. "

You wouldn't do this if it were just seasonal flu because these measures are simply so disruptive," Markel said, pointing out that going to a political rally is not a necessary risk.

None of the experts CNN talked to for this story -- Bromage, Dawn, Markel and Troisi -- said they would be willing to risk it.

"My most strong advice would be, if you're not going to do that, then don't go around anybody that is high-risk for a few weeks after that rally.

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