In terms of transmission of COVID-19, how dangerous is the assembly of a large crowd of people indoors? The Trump rally in Tulsa provides a remarkable opportunity to answer this question. Even though the number of attendees fell short of Trump’s desires, about two thirds of the 19,000 capacity did come. Judging by photos of the event, less than 20 percent were wearing masks. What is different about this crowd is that we know who they are — they were required to sign a waiver. Therefore, epidemiologists can identify a scientifically valid sample, test them, and then follow them. 

Scientists call this an “experiment of nature” — an opportunity to perform a study that is not the result of an experimental design. Such a study would render invaluable information. 

Would Trump allow it?

James Whalen, MD

Oak Park

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