Last week, President Trump came to Gastonia to hold a packed and largely maskless campaign rally at the Gastonia Regional Airport. According to the Secret Service, at least 35,000 people came to the rally. It’s now officially the largest event to ever be held in Gaston County.
Many health experts feared that since we are currently in a pandemic, this packed rally would cause a spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths in the county.
Unfortunately, the numbers coming out from the NC Department of Health and Human Services indicate those fears may be coming true.
Yesterday, exactly 9 days after the rally, Gaston County reported its highest 1-day total of new Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The county reported a total of 157 new cases yesterday, compared with a previous high of 138 on 10/16.
There also were 17 deaths from Covid-19 confirmed in Gaston County this past week (23rd-29th), compared with just 8 the previous week (16th-22nd).
Some have argued that the spike in cases is not related to last week’s rally, but when Gaston County’s numbers are compared to the similarly-sized rural counties that also border Charlotte, Gaston County’s recent spike seems to be unique.
According to the CDC, “symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus”, and since many don’t get tested until they begin to feel symptoms, and since results are often not reported by the county until a couple of days after a test is initially taken, we will likely see the case count and death toll climb much higher in Gaston County over the next couple weeks.
Tomorrow, President Trump plans to hold another massive rally in Hickory, North Carolina (about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte) at the Hickory Regional Airport.
What do you think about President Trump’s decision to hold packed rallies during the pandemic?