I have seen criticism from conservatives that there is a double standard being applied to protests against racial injustice and the Trump rally tomorrow. The virus does not care how people get into contact with each other and actions have consequences. As a matter of risk assessment I would see the differences being outdoors vs. indoors, and some to universal mask use vs. intentional mask avoidance. Large gatherings increase risk of transmission of covid-19, which can be mitigated by being outside, social distancing, and wearing masks. The difference between the Trump rally and protests, to me, are the intentional flouting of public health guidelines (no masks, no chance of social distancing) and the reason that people are taking the risk. Black Lives Matter protests are to protest racism and Trump rallies are to celebrate racism. BLM protest organizers warned participants and provided masks and sanitizer, who made a decision that the risk of protest outweighed the importance of the issue. For a Trump rally, participants are being told lies about the virus and risk, to watch someone who revels in bigotry. So any harsher judgment of the Trump campaign rally for me arises not from an inconsistent assessment of the risks (both activities carry risks that spillover and affect society beyond the participants), but a fundamental disagreement with the motivation to take on the risk.
I pulled the county-level data today, which provide additional details to complement the state patterns. I made state-level curves of new cases per 100,00 per day as an average of each county within each state. This as the effect of offsetting the urban counties with the rural counties to some degree but the patterns are familiar from looking at the state level curves. I then plotted the county curves for California, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
California, despite not having nearly the case rate as New York and New Jersey, has many counties seeing significant increases in the period since social distancing rules were loosened. With the new statewide mask order, perhaps that will be abated, but it will take a couple of weeks to tell.
Oklahoma, site of the Trump rally tomorrow, had a long period of relatively stable number of new cases and has in the last two weeks seen many counties increasing the rate of growth of cases, including Tulsa County. Public health precepts would suggest that it is exactly not the time to hold an indoor event with (perhaps up to) 20,000 people.
Arizona has some interesting patterns; Maricopa County (Phoenix) has taken a distinct upward jump in new daily cases over the past few weeks, as have most other counties, except counties with Indian Nations that were hit earlier on.