The media is making a big deal that 52 people who worked or voted in Wisconsin election have COVID-19. — First, as ABC News notes
: “It remains unclear how many — if any — of those people contracted the virus at the polls and health
officials are still collecting testing and tracing information.”— Second, the New York Times reports
that “the incubation period, on average nearly six days
.” And given that a full 22 days had passed since the vote by the evening of April 29th, it is quite possible that a lot these 22 people were infected long after the voting.But the real question not being asked: even if all 52 were infected because of the vote, what is the rate of infection? There are a few numbers that we need to put together to figure that out.Number of votes in Presidential Primary: 1,551,712
. This is a slight underestimate of the total number of votes because not everyone who voted participated in the presidential vote.Mail-in ballots: 1,003,422
. However, some of these people who sent in mail-in ballots also showed up and voted in person, so this is an overestimate.For both of these reasons, the total number of people who voted in person is greater than the difference between 1,551,712 and 1,003,422. But even taking just the difference between these two numbers shows a gap fo 548,290 voters. Next, there were 4,050 polling places
in Wisconsin on April 7th. In Milwaukee, “there were 80 to 100 poll workers at each site, and about 30 National Guard members at each location. Workers were taking safety precautions.
” So there were someplace between 110 and 130 people working at each location. But there were only five polling sites open in Milwaukee and it isn’t clear how the staffing of polling places in Milwaukee corresponds to staffing at polling places in the rest of the state. It is a guess, but suppose conservatively that the average polling site in Wisconsin had 50 people working at it — that is another 202,500 people who risked exposure. Conservatively, say the total number of people involved in in-person voting was 750,790.Even assuming that none of those 52 people could have gotten the virus any other way, the infection rate was then at the very most 0.0069 percent. To put it differently, 6.9 out of every 1,000 people who participated got ill.