Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Now Linked to Over 250,000 Coronavirus Cases – Mother Jones

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The inevitable fallout from last month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an annual event that brought together nearly 500,000 people in a small town in South Dakota, becomes clear and the emerging picture is bleak.

More than 250,000 coronavirus cases have now been linked to the 10-day event, one of the largest to stand since the start of the pandemic, according to a new study, which tracked the gathering’s anonymized cell phone data. . It has drawn motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country, many of whom have been seen without covering their faces in crowded bars, restaurants and other indoor establishments.

The explosion of cases, according to the study by the German Institute of Labor Economics IZA, is expected to reach $ 12 billion in public health costs.

“The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally represents a situation in which many of the ‘worst case scenarios’ of super-diffusion occurred simultaneously,” the researchers wrote, “the event was extended, included individuals clustered together, involved a great out of town. population, and had low adherence to recommended infection countermeasures such as the use of masks. ”

The finding, while staggering, likely won’t surprise public health officials who have warned that continuing the rally could be disastrous, especially given the region’s relaxed attitude toward social distancing guidelines. and the mockery of some participants about the pandemic. “Live COVID. I went to Sturgis, ”read a t-shirt of the rally, where overwhelming support for President Trump was the norm.

The study follows the first reported death from the event, a Minnesota man in his 60s who attended the rally and died last week. South Dakota now has one of the highest rates of coronavirus cases in the country.

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