It's been interesting to keep track of the fall out from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which occurred between August 7 and 16 and attracted over 450,000 people to South Dakota. There were a slew of rock and metal bands like Buckcherry, Trapt, Fozzy, Drowning Pool, Quiet Riot, Smash Mouth, Adelitas Way, Saving Abel, and Night Ranger. Masks were optional, and it the outbreak resulting continues.
Last week, we learned that health officials across eight states have confirmed a total of over 100 new COVID-19 cases linked to the rally. The two states most affected are South Dakota with 40 documented cases and Minnesota with 35 documented cases. Today, local officials reported their first death from the festival.
The man was in his 60s and had underlying conditions and was hospitalized almost immediately after returning from the rally. The Washington Post reports at least 260 cases in 11 states have been directly tied to the event.
According to the story "epidemiologists believe that figure is a significant undercount, due to the resistance of some rallygoers to testing and the limited contact tracing in some states. As a result, the true scope of infections stemming from the rally that ran from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16 is unlikely to ever be known."
The seven day average in South Dakota more than tripled on September 2nd, reaching 347 new cases a day, compared to 107 new cases a day two weeks earlier. The highest single day of new cases was on August 27th, with 623 new cases reported. There have been 4,000 new cases in the last two weeks alone.
North Dakota saw their seven day average of cases double to 257 from 142 two weeks prior.
Here is why this is so dangerous. According to that same Washington Post report:
An analysis of anonymized cellphone data, conducted by a firm called Camber Systems, found that 61 percent of all U.S. counties had been visited by a rallygoer.
Those participants returned home “perhaps to locations that weren’t seeing as much transmission to begin with,” Ehresmann said. “You have the potential to amplify transmission in multiple places. That’s what’s concerning from a broader public health standpoint.”
Unlike the Black Lives Matter protests in late May and early June that took place outdoors, the Sturgis gathering was attended by hundreds of thousands of people who “spent hours and hours in bars, tattoo parlors, casinos and other entertainment venues where much of the transmission occurred,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
Metal Injection wants nothing more than for shows to come back, but with such deadly outcomes, is it really worth it?