Report: Sturgis Biker Rally Caused 250,000 New Coronavirus Cases
“F*ck that COVID sh*t!” yelled the lead singer of the washed-up, meathead rock band Smash Mouth, last month at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. But the estimated 400,000 bikers who showed up for the 10-day event did indeed get into bed with COVID-19, as a new report ran the numbers to find that the Sturgis rally caused an estimated 250,000 new coronavirus cases, according to Mother Jones.
— Connor Matteson (@mattesontv) August 10, 2020
According to a lengthy, 63-page study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, “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.’”
Public health costs of the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Event- a super spreader event, $12 billion dollars.
Enough that taxpayers could have paid each attendee, 462,182 of them in the midst of a deadly pandemic, $26,553.64 not to attend. https://t.co/9eZWG692jT https://t.co/mgJLt5pn9P pic.twitter.com/QOVBrammGl
— Rachel "The Doc" Bitecofer 📈🔭🍌 (@RachelBitecofer) September 8, 2020
“Using anonymized cell phone data from SafeGraph, Inc. we document that (i) smartphone pings from non-residents, and (ii) foot traffic at restaurants and bars, retail establishments, entertainment venues, hotels and campgrounds each rose substantially in the census block groups hosting Sturgis rally events,” the study says.
2 weeks after the Sturgis motorcycle rally, South Dakota has the highest positivity rate (20.9%) in the country.
— TURN TEXAS BLUE (@Blue_Texas2020) September 4, 2020
Authors conclude that “Adding the number of new cases due to the Rally in South Dakota estimated by synthetic control (3.6 per 1,000 population, scaled by the South Dakota population of approximately 858,000) brings the total number of cases to 266,796 or 19 percent of 1.4 million new cases of COVID-19 in the United States between August 2nd 2020 and September 2nd 2020.”
A Minnesota man who attended a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota last month with thousands of other bikers has died of COVID-19. He is the first reported death from that rally. https://t.co/kaROsobMGw
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 2, 2020
There is only one confirmed COVID-19 death from the rally, as seen above, but confirmed Sturgis cases are in the hundreds and going up every day. There are other costs, too. “These cases represent a cost of over $12.2 billion,” researchers note. “This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend.”