A new policy brief released by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) Georgia suggested that 2020 parliamentary elections contributed to an elevated COVID-19 caseload in the country for two to three months.
The document estimated that the polls were associated with between 1,240 and 1,447 COVID-19 fatalities, and 100,000 – 140,000 new cases, and were a significant contributor to Georgia “becoming one of the worst-hit spots in the world during the winter of 2020-2021.”
In the research, CRRC Georgia analyzed the COVID-19 statistics of the country from April 2020 to January 2021, comparing the trends to three synthetic models created with data aggregated from countries that held no elections during the period.
The researchers also included several other criteria in the models, among them similar population numbers and GDP per capita to Georgia. The CRRC Georgia noted that the findings were consistent between the three different models constructed.
The brief also called on policymakers to ensure the public’s safety in the upcoming October 2 local elections. “While the world is different today and more and more Georgians are vaccinated, the more contagious delta variant predominates in Georgia,” it stressed.
As of September 21, 2021, Georgia has confirmed a total of 598,396 COVID-19 cases, 565,773 recoveries and 8,261 fatalities after the first infection was recorded in February 2020. The vaccination drive began in March 2021, and 719,076 persons have been fully inoculated so far.