The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota is reportedly the cause of 19 percent of the 1.4 million new coronavirus cases in the U.S. between August 2nd and September 2nd. This is according to researchers from San Diego State University's Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies.
That accounts for more than 266,000 COVID-19 cases attributed to the event that went on for 10 days.
“Between August 7 and August 16, 2020, nearly 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts converged on Sturgis, South Dakota for its annual motorcycle rally. Large crowds, coupled with minimal mask-wearing and social distancing by attendees, raised concerns that this event could serve as a COVID-19 ‘super-spreader,’” the researchers’ paper reads.
“We conclude that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion,” it added. “This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend.”
According to the researchers, the rally increased COVID-19 cases by around six to seven per 1,000 population in Meade County.
Meanwhile, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who did not issue a shelter-in-place order for her state, criticized the paper as “fiction.”
“Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis,” Noem said in a statement. “Predictably, some in the media breathlessly report on this non-peer reviewed model, built on incredibly faulty assumptions that do not reflect the actual facts and data,” she also stated.
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