COVID cases linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally multiply across states

More than 100 cases of coronavirus linked to attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally emerge across seven states, prompting test call from health officials

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

More than 100 cases of COVID-19 have been identified as being linked directly with attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, with the state Departments of Health urging those who attended to get tested immediately to prevent wider spread.

One of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world, attracting some 500,000 people to the South Dakota town annual over 10 days of festivities, the event inadvertently became the focal point in the United States’ social divide over regulations and liberties.

Despite calls to cancel the event – like countless others of its size – from fearful local residents’, organisers pressed on arguing it would be better to go ahead with measures in place than have people turning up regardless without any regulation.

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Inevitably, the event garnered more media attention than usual as one of the biggest public gatherings to take place since the outbreak went worldwide at a time when the United States is still struggling to ‘flatten the curve’

Cases have now started to emerge in as many as seven states, including 17 in North Dakota and at least 40 in neighbouring South Dakota. Residents of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming and Washington state have also been diagnosed with COVID-19 linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

While the numbers are small relative to estimated 460,000 people who attended – down only 8% on 2019, according to NBC – it is feared it’s true number is potentially a lot higher and now spread over a larger area than previously.  Cases in the United States have been on the rise again since mid-July, with as many as 1,486 deaths recorded as recently as 12th August, the US’ worst day since mid-May. 

The North Dakota Department of Health has urged those who attended to get tested and take the necessary precautions to prevent a spike, saying ‘those who attended the rally should closely monitor for symptoms and get tested at a free ND testing site.”

Reports on the ground claimed organisers had indeed attempted to do their bit to encourage – if not enforce - safety, large crowds according to The Insider ‘packed into bars, used communal Slip ‘n Slides and for the most part flouted advice from local officials to wear masks’.