The elections and campaign styles influence the spread of COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned from Kerala, India

Praveenlal Kuttichira, Pulikkottil Rapheal Varghese, Presthiena Lofi E. L., Prasad A. B.


Background: The pandemic caused by SARS-Cov-2 and its variants whack the world with overlapping waves. Kerala is the Indian state which successfully curbed the first wave of COVID-19, getting noticed when daunted by the second wave. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of two elections held in Kerala on the transmission of COVID-19 from October 1st, 2020 to May 5th, 2021.

Methods: The study employed a retrospective cross-sectional design with publicly available data. The test positivity (TPR) and daily number of cases (DNC) collected from governmental websites of Kerala, India and COVID-19 dashboards entered in MS Excel 2007 and analysed using IBM SPSS version 25. Biweekly average of TPR and DNC was analysed in descriptive statistics and DNC at different periods in the context of elections were analysed using repeated-measures ANOVA with Greenhouse-Geisser correction and post hoc test of Bonferroni correction.

Results: The findings showed that the daily number of COVID-19 cases increased after both local body and assembly elections, but a statistically significant increase was found after the assembly election [mean difference= 1069 (357.047-1782.419) at p=0.002 from the pre-election period].

Conclusions: The study revealed that the conduct of elections in stages and organizing campaigns limiting to the local area following COVID protocols had a demonstrable positive effect against the potential of pandemic spread.


Election, Campaign, COVID-19, Pandemic, SARS-Cov-2, Test positivity

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