Massive Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota raises COVID-19 worries again
Bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts are descending upon South Dakota’s Black Hills this weekend for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, again raising concerns that COVID-19 will rapidly spread among the hundreds-of-thousands expected at the event.
Last year’s rally drew widespread criticism, as maskless attendees gathered en masse, even as most in-person events were canceled around the country. This year, vaccines have made more gatherings possible — but Sturgis still stands out.
Some recent large-scale events, including the music festival Lollapalooza, have required attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and to wear a mask. Because the nation is currently battling growing cases as the highly transmissible delta variant circulates, even those precautions have been called insufficient.
But health precautions at Sturgis are optional.
Sturgis officials said the rally offers attendees access to coronavirus tests, face masks and hand sanitizer stations, in addition to doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, according to The New York Times. And the city has also allowed rallygoers to drink on public property, with the hope of preventing indoor crowding.
In a September 2020 “Fact Check” article, USA TODAY ARTICLE – reported a miniscule infection rate. “South Dakota confirmed 124 COVID-19 cases tied to the Sturgis Rally as of Sept. 8, and other states have reported at least 290 people in 12 states testing positive after attending the rally. About 460,000 people attended the rally. The infection rate based on the above numbers is 0.09%, found by dividing 414 (South Dakota’s cases plus the other states’ cases) by 460,000, and multiplying that by 100.” Put as a PROBABILITY of infection, your probability of infection from Sturgis was 0.0009.