Last month, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally took place in South Dakota and saw over 450,000 attendees. Smash Mouth infamously performed at the rally, even shouting “f*ck that COVID sh*t” on stage. But the event has since proved health officials’ worst fears — that it turned out to be a “super spreader” event. Last week, it was reported that the rally had led to its first confirmed COVID-related death and now, a new study has found the rally resulted in hundreds of thousands of new cases, which made up a significant portion of the US’ total cases in August.
According to Consequence Of Sound, a study published by health scientists Dhaval Dave, Andrew Friedson, Drew McNichols, and Joe Sabia found the Sturgis rally is responsible for a whopping 260,000 new cases of COVID-19. That number equates to 19 percent of the US’ total cases for the month of August, and $12 billion in medical care costs.
New @SDSUCHEPS paper by Dhaval Dave @FriedsonAndrew @Drew_McNichols & Joe Sabia ("Contagion Externality of Super-spreader") finds Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was a local & nationwide spreader of COVID-19. Estimated public health cost: ~$12B
— CHEPS (@SDSUCHEPS) September 6, 2020
The study stated the rally was a “worst case scenario” for spreading the virus due to the behavior of its attendees: “The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally represents a situation where many of the ‘worst case scenarios’ for superspreading occurred simultaneously: the event was prolonged, included individuals packed closely together, involved a large out-of-town population (a population that was orders of magnitude larger than the local population), and had low compliance with recommended infection countermeasures such as the use of masks.”
Read the full study here.