Sturgis rally was a superspreader event, may have infected over 250k


A month ago, CB started reporting on the Sturgis motorcycle rally that took place, business as usual, despite there being a global pandemic keeping much of the US in lockdown. But, bike rallies being so important, close to half a million people came together to ride, eat, celebrate and listen to Smash Mouth. People had very definite opinions about the event, some sending hate mail, others defending the event and their right to be there, mask free. But those opinions are about to get a lot louder now that Sturgis is considered a superspreader event which is thought to have infected over 250K so far.

In early August, more than 460,000 motorcycle enthusiasts converged on Sturgis, S.D., for a 10-day celebration where few wore facial coverings or practiced social distancing. A month later, researchers have found that thousands have been sickened across the nation, leading them to brand the Sturgis rally a “superspreader” event.

“The Sturgis Rally was one of the largest in-person gatherings since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States,” said Joseph J. Sabia, one of the study’s authors, a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies at San Diego State University. He described the “public health costs” of the rally as “substantial and widespread,” which could have infected as many as 266,796 people. He and his co-authors estimate that dealing with the fallout from the rally will involve more than $12 billion in health care costs.

“The spread of the virus due to the event was large,” the authors write, because it hosted people from all over the country. But the severity of the spread was closely tied to the approaches to the pandemic by Sturgis attendees’ home states. In some places, any spread related to people returning from the rally was blunted by strong mitigation measures, like a face-mask mandate or a prohibition against indoor dining.

[From Yahoo via DListed]

You may remember that while they played their ill-advised concert, Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell proclaimed, “We’re all here together tonight. F— that COVID s—.” Well, Steve, you are now all together in the sick bay, racking up $12B in healthcare costs. Was it worth it? Was running around for 10 days, rubbing elbows and god knows what else with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts without taking the proper – necessary – precautions worth so many people succumbing to COVID? What makes this worse is those who contracted it from Sturgis brought it back to a certain number of innocents who had the good sense to stay home. And the chain will continue. By the time all is said and done, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sturgis rally ends up responsible for half a million cases of coronavirus in the US.

There is no mystery why any and all borders remain closed to us – we seemingly do not care who we infect with this deadly virus. The Sturgis rally is an infuriatingly egregious and foolhardy example of that, but there are still house parties going on in every major city. People are still breaking mask, capacity and social distancing rules just to have a good time. There is no accountability, personal or otherwise, for those continuing the spread of COVID and it pains me to no end. I have nothing to prove. I will continue to adhere to California’s quarantine mandates because I very much want life to return to some semblance of order. I have no god-complex telling me I am somehow impervious to what’s happening in the thousands, daily, around this country. And I hope you’ll join me, because I want you here when we finally get a handle on this thing.

Oh, and stay the f**k away from anyone who considers attending an event like this as sticking it to the virus.


Photo credit: Instagram

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51 Responses to “Sturgis rally was a superspreader event, may have infected over 250k”

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  1. alwaysannarun says:

    You’d think President Bone Spurs would be more focused on making sure his followers stay healthy enough to vote and discourage stupid events like this. Then again, he doesn’t really care. It is…what it is.

    • Lemons says:

      It’s just like his previous campaign. No one, not even the President, is campaigning to win. That’s not what this is about. He just wants a fanbase. And it looks like even if they die, they’re still pro-Trump. So nothing to change.

      • madameX says:

        Campaigning for that cable TV hate-speech show that he and his family thought they were going to get out of 2016.
        If only we’d all been so lucky then.

      • The Recluse says:

        Oh, Drumpf is campaigning to win all right. He truly wants to be president for life, because the NY AG is waiting for his sorry butt as soon as he’s voted out, which seriously, people: VOTE BLUE TO SAVE AMERICA.

    • phaedra7 says:

      More than likely because some if not most of those folks there are Drumpfers, attended MAGA rallies. Also, Take-A-💩 is an actual COWARD. He wouldn’t stand up to the likes of these folks.
      He would use the Secret Service Agents to fight his battles as POT-ASS; and as a private citizen, big burly security guards to defend him–even if these guards were POCs, whom he actually hates but wants to use their muscle, cos he ain’t got any, just flab from devouring hamburders, fries, sodas and OREO cookies!🤣 😈

  2. Lily Evans says:

    I’m sorry, what? This is beyond a ”superspreader” event, most COUNTRIES in the world have fewer total cases than this!

    • Roma says:

      Around 135k cases in Canada. This kind of behaviour is so hard to wrap my head around when we’re being so cautious and careful up here.

      • ME says:

        I’m also in Canada and there are plenty of Canadians not being careful. My neighborhood is living as if the pandemic never was or is. Brampton is an absolute mess as well…the numbers don’t lie. It’s due to huge weddings and parties. Canadians are no better, we just have a much smaller population than America. We have our moronic anti-maskers here too. Sigh.

      • Becks1 says:

        Yeah, the number of cases per country isn’t a good comparison, its the number of cases per capita. Now of course the US is “leading” there as well (last I checked at any rate) but just sheer number of cases isn’t a good measure of how a country is doing. But like I said I think we have the highest per capita case rate, so you know, MAGA.

        That said, these people are idiots and 250k cases from one event (even if it is a multi day event like this) is absolutely appalling and horrendous.

      • Marguerita says:

        It’s no better up in Northern Ontario. There haven’t been very many cases at all so I think people don’t have a realistic view of what’s happening south of the border, or even in Sourthern Ontario for that matter. We started screening at work, had a couple of non-negatives that were ultimately negative, and I think that may have been the shock we needed. At work anyway. I know it scared the hell out of me. It’s just such a jarring contrast between local and global environments. The world’s number of cases is starting to look like our own population count! Canada is only so lucky because of low population density and big geographic distances. I worry.

  3. Becks1 says:

    God people are so stupid. And there are always going to be stupid people, but here its affecting other people who ARENT trying to be stupid.

    The Atlantic has a good article about the pandemic spiral, and when I say “good” I mean well-written but depressing as hell.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      “its affecting other people who ARENT trying to be stupid.”

      Yes, that’s the worst part. Like the Maine wedding that spread it to hundreds of people. Those that ended up dying weren’t attendees at the wedding, rather, they were people that wedding attendees infected. It is so upsetting that the people taking stupid risks aren’t the only ones who are endangered from their stupidity.

    • Drea says:

      Just an FYI, the states have about 7x the cases that Canada has per capita. 20,000 per million vs 3,000 per million.

      Stupid people are everywhere, but they really love to congregate in the US.

  4. Miranda says:

    You know, I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass if these people want to fuck around and infect each other. Good riddance. What I DO take issue with is the fact that Sturgis isn’t too far from the Pine Ridge reservation, home to at least 28K Lakota. It consistently ranks among the very poorest areas in the entire country, with 98% of the residents living below the poverty line. What’s more, many of them suffer from conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, that we know leave them VERY vulnerable to COVID-19. Their medical facilities are poorly equipped, and since it’s not uncommon for families to be without transportation, might be unreachable anyway. THEY are the people who I worry about. How many of them will die because a bunch of self-absorbed rednecks and poseur dentists in leather chaps feel the need to compensate for their micropenises? Assholes.

    • Alexandria says:

      I couldn’t care less about them being infected either, but I do pity the American healthcare workers. The more cases they take on, the more risk they are exposed to. And replacing compromised doctors and nurses is not an instant fix.

      • Miranda says:

        Very true, and I’m now kicking myself for not giving them a shout-out. Especially since my own stepmom is a doctor who’s spent the past few months dealing with people who were too stupid and/or stubborn to protect themselves (thankfully, she’s managed to remain healthy herself).

    • Betsy says:

      Uhhh… I live in the state next door and I very much care that these entitled white bozos may have brought more covid home. It’s beyond disgusting that they put the reservations at risk, but there are lots of us up here going about our normal covid business (i.e., the grocery store and picking up my to go books at the library) as safely and as rarely as possible.

      • Miranda says:

        Of course you (and others who are trying to follow the rules) deserve to feel safe, and I apologize for giving the impression that I’m not concerned about others in the area. I wanted to highlight that this could be another instance of an underserved, underprivileged minority population bearing the brunt (as with Black and Hispanic people in other parts of the country), but I definitely could’ve been more clear. This is also a little raw for me because I’ve spent a lot of time working with kids on several reservations, but formed some close relationships at Pine Ridge in particular. Many of my friends there have been angry about Sturgis ever since they learned that the event would go ahead in spite of the pandemic, and seeing that their fears were entirely justified has me pissed off. Again, I’m sorry that I sounded insensitive, and I hope you can stay healthy in spite of these selfish idiots.

  5. Ninks says:

    If the mortality rate of those infected is just 1%, then it has caused around 2,600 deaths. If it’s 1.4% that’s about 3,500 deaths. It’s incredibly sad and infuriating to look at those numbers and know that’s acceptable to people who don’t want to wear a mask.

  6. Dragonlady Sakura says:

    *Surprised Pikachu Face* What? You mean to tell me a large gathering of non-mask wearing folks would be a super spreader…no way?!

  7. My3cents says:

    I’m thinking the only way these assholes would care about not contacting this disease is if it left some permanent scarring or their face, like a penis drawing or better yet Hilary4 President.

    • Pusspants says:

      Thank you for making me laugh today! Not much does these days & it’s a great way to cope with all this crap that’s happening.

  8. Ariel says:

    The SD governor plays from trump’s playbook- she says it’s all lies. Like those Idiots at sturgis, unless her family members die, the virus does not matter.
    I had a huge meltdown at my dinner table the week of sturgis. I just couldn’t stop crying. I was so angry at the abject lack of humanity, at the stupidity.
    My mom died of the virus in May, in a locked down senior residence, catching from an employee there.

    A dumb coworker asked if I thought she *really* died from COVID. I asked her if under her theory my mom was alive on a tropical island laughing at all us suckers, or if she died but the doctors and nurses just enjoyed the cruelty of not letting her daughters or granddaughters see her before she died. Of letting her die completely alone.

    It’s hard to root for humanity in the USA right now.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      That’s heartbreaking. I’m so sorry Ariel.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      Ariel, I’m so sorry about your mother. I can’t get over the human capacity for cruelty and have been having random burst of crying over the last few months.

      I’m worried about parents who thankfully live in another country and are reasonably safe, but I’m afraid to leave America to visit them. My usual visits have been disrupted but between flight and airport out of this country I can’t risk it and I don’t know when I will be able to.

    • Marigold says:

      I don’t know how you kept from smacking that coworker in the mouth.

    • buenavissta says:

      Ariel, I am so sorry for you and your family and so angry at how many stories I’ve heard like yours.

    • Chaine says:

      Ariel, I’m so sorry the virus took your mom and robbed you of last visits with her.

    • Jerusha says:

      So very, very sorry. I can’t imagine the pain of being alone at such a time.

    • Traveler says:

      I am so sorry.

    • Lady D says:

      Ariel, I’m so sorry for your loss, and for the heartbreaking effect of knowing she was alone. Really sorry.

    • waitwhat says:

      Ariel, I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother and, moreover, that you could not be with her at the end. I commend you for keeping it together with your insensitive idiot co-worker. Not sure I could have taken the high road as you did.

    • Valerie says:

      I would have had a difficult time keeping my composure and not laying into her. She needs a hard verbal slap upside the head, and maybe the next person she says something like that won’t show her the same grace that you did. I’m so sorry that happened to you and that she tried to put that mark upon your mother’s memory. You both deserve better.

    • Miranda says:

      Oh God, I’m so sorry, Ariel. Your mom deserved better, your family deserved a chance to say goodbye properly, and you deserve to be canonized for not losing your shit over your coworker’s ignorant remarks.

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m an expert quarantiner lol. I’ve been in training for, probably, the last five years or so. I have my space, Mr Mabs has his, and my hormonal teen who attends virtual high school and then MMORPGs his way into tomorrow most definitely enjoys his space. Life is delivered in boxes and bags, and weather is enjoyed with open windows. I’m quite sure, at this point, I have a doctorate in quarantine.

  10. Mishka says:

    That girl needs to shave her armpits. Nasty!!

  11. Ana says:

    Thanks for reporting on this! Stay safe!

  12. ME says:

    The border being “closed” is actually not true. You can fly between Canada and U.S.A all you want, you just can’t drive over unless it’s for work or school. It’s ridiculous. Not to mention the Alaska loophole a lot of Americans are taking advantage of. I don’t think there is a more selfish society out there than the American one.

  13. Mumbles says:

    This event was stupid and highly irresponsible. I was outraged when I saw the reports on MSNBC that it might have resulted in 200,000+ infections. But, there is an article on Slate from yesterday that casts a lot of doubt on that figure; that estimate is based on assumptions that might not be true here. It’s an interesting read.

    • Chaine says:

      I read that too. I absolutely believe the Sturgis event was irresponsible, but I think the authors of the study might have better served us if they waited a few months to accumulate concrete data on how infection rates In different locales bear their theory out.

  14. Jerusha says:

    If only those 266,796 could all be attendees.🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻
    My trumper sister and her husband have attended Sturgis many times, but this time they didn’t go. She’s an RN. Maybe that helped.

  15. Jenji says:

    Just like the recent 6% uproar, this is actually likely to be untrue. Obviously, it’s certain that Sturgis led to many new Covid-19 infections, but likely not at this level. Article by one of the “Nerdy Girls” who runs the “Dear Pandemic” website.

  16. deader than new metal and disco says:

    While it’s fun to call Americans stupid and all (or at least that’s the impression I get on the internet) let’s not forgot other countries are being sh-t when it comes to COVID-19 as well. Sweden, for example, is one whole country of embarrassing.

    • Oddsnends says:

      Sweden didn’t lock down. They did suggest masks, some social distancing, and limited crowd sizes. They had an early failure of protecting the elderly and so a high initial death toll. Now, however, they have something like 20 people in intensive care and fewer (on average) than one death per day.

      We’re going to have another pandemic within the next decade. We need to figure out how to cope without destroying our economy. Not to mention protecting people from the increased rates of suicide and overdose.

      When this is all over and we can sort through all the facts without the political overtones we should take a close look at what countries did right.

  17. Valerie says:

    I hope those flags keep them warm in their sick beds. I hope they now know that the man whose name they adorn themselves with does not give a single solitary fuck about them.

  18. Sheila D says:

    I live in Georgia and cases are spiking like crazy. Yet the majority of people are acting like this virus is gone or is no big deal. I have medical issues so when I rarely go out it is with a mask, washed hands and sanitized. The only people who seem to be taking this virus seriously in this state are either in the medical field or they had a relative, friend, co-worker suffer from the virus. The denial is unreal.

  19. Anna says:

    I will be nowhere near the U.S. in the next decade. As soon as covid is under control and borders open, I’m out. Put up with this country for 30 years and this is just…beyond. So sick of the rampant individualism, and that’s across populations. I have neighbors 3 feet across the hall who never wear masks. It’s infuriating and depressing. These a****** have no right to take my life in their hands.