Cases rise 1,500% in South Dakota following Sturgis bike rally (update)


Update: Cases have increased more than 1,500%, these numbers have changed


There’s nothing quite like covering a story again a year later to bring it home how much time has passed during the pandemic. So it is with the Sturgis bike rally in South Dakota, held during the pre-vaccine times last year and considered a superspreader event. It was held again this year during the height of the Delta variant. The population of people who attend Sturgis are generally the anti-mask anti-vax type and of course there are no vaccination or mask requirements. Many attendees, and sadly many of the people they came in contact with, are going to die before placing an often needless tax on a breaking healthcare system. Reports state that there’s been a 450% rise in covid cases in South Dakota since the start of the Sturgis rally. This year it ran from Friday, August 6th to Saturday the 15th. South Dakota is 27th in the nation in vaccination rates. More than half a million people attended Sturgis this year. Here’s that report from CBS news:

South Dakota has seen a sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Meade County this month. Hundreds of thousands of bikers descended upon the area August 6-15, despite the Delta variant wreaking havoc on the U.S.

On August 4, the date closest to the start of the rally for which data was available, the state reported 657 active cases. On August 25, the state reported 3,655 active cases. That’s a 456% increase of active cases from before the start of the rally to two weeks after, according to the state’s department of health.

As of August 24, about two weeks from the start of the event, South Dakota saw a weekly positivity rate of 38.8%. The week leading up to the rally — July 30 to August 6 — the state’s weekly positivity rate was much lower, at 10.38%, the department of health data shows. The week before that, July 23-30, the positivity rate was just 6.10%.

The rate of daily cases increased 486% from August 6, when 80 new cases were reported, to August 23, when 469 cases were reported.

Meade County, where Sturgis is located, saw a 34.2% weekly positivity rate last week, according to the state department of health.

About 61% of the state’s population over age 12 have been administered at least one dose of vaccine, and 55% are fully vaccinated, the department’s data shows. In Meade County, 7,984 people have been vaccinated. With a population of 28,332, that’s about 28% of the county vaccinated.

[From CBS News]

CBS News quoted the city manager of Sturgis, who said of the non-vaccination requirements “We’re not going to start checking papers. I mean, that’s not really an American way.” In these people’s minds, the American way is stubbornly refusing to take a free vaccine or to wear a piece of cloth over their face for the greater good. The American way is dying in a crowded ICU hooked up to machines or being saddled with chronic health problems and tens of thousands in medical debt. I could never have imagined that anything like this would happen in my lifetime. At the same time I’m amazed that we have vaccines which are so safe and effective, and that so many people have the most ridiculous excuses not to get them.

This is Jody Perewitz, Sturgis’s 2021 Grand Marshall

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82 Responses to “Cases rise 1,500% in South Dakota following Sturgis bike rally (update)”

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  1. VS says:

    it is ok; natural selection at work!!! If only we could prevent some of them from traveling to other states, that’ll be great!

    • Giddy says:

      Maybe the Darwin Award should be given to a group this year. Sturgis would definitely qualify.

      • VS says:

        yep…..I feel very little pity for those who think Covid is a hoax and end up either getting it or worse dying from it! I feel bad for the nurses and doctors who are stuck trying to save the life of idiots! it is time the unvaccinated pay a price for their stupidity and the burden shouldn’t be on those who chose to get vaccinated!
        If only all of those unvaccinated could move to FL…… the rest of us can continue our life

      • The Recluse says:

        It’s going to be the DARWIN OLYMPICS this year. And so many, MANY medal winners.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        I still feel pity for those groups of people that are living in a bubble of misinformation. I moved during the early stages/pre lockdown of the pandemic to one of those areas.
        It’s another world!
        You can’t say they’re willfully ignoring the vaccine because they’re stubborn. It’s because they truly believe it’s not needed and to not trust the government.

        And who among us (outside of healthcare workers or movies) has seen in our lifetime a packed ICU of people fading away from viruses? I’m betting 99% of commenters can’t say they have. So it would be to believe the impossible.

        Sure, some are awful magas , but I feel for many and there shouldn’t be so much schadenfreud in what will be a massive tragedy for hundreds of families.

    • myjobistoprincess says:

      Yes natural selection I agree. 500K attendance, that is totally irresponsable at this point in time. I’m also guessing the darwin theory also applies to the virus: events like these only hightens the risk of life developping new stronger covid variants also.

      • kw says:

        This last sentence. 100%.
        Those who are anti-vax/anti-mask are putting us ALL AT RISK of the potential for the birth of a stronger variant the longer the pandemic drags on.
        The unfairness is surreal.
        The selfishness is incomprehensible.

    • LillyfromLillooet says:

      I hate to say it, but the stupids of the world seem hellbent on taking themselves out. I know some celeb said at the start of this that covid was “God’s way of thinning the herd” and she caught major hell for it and apologized. When I hear about things like this, I think of that quote and wonder if she was right.

      Also I admit I checked the links to the instagram accounts celebrating this mass extinction event. While I forever hate the environment crushing sound of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, it looks as if they-—and actually any major motorcycle company—wisely stayed away from sponsoring this public health disaster. It must have taken courage and integrity to distance themselves from folks who give them huge business. I’m grateful.

    • 2lazy4username says:

      too bad those not old enough to be vaccinated have to be exposed to the effects of natural selection.

      • Christine says:

        Yeah, that’s where I am sitting too. I feel panic for the under 12 crowd, and the immunocompromised who can’t do anything but hope the rest of us do better. This is not the definition of doing better, these aholes are bumbling around, infecting people who cannot do anything but hope the “responsible adults” around them are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated. Natural selection can take you out any way you want, do not make completely innocent people pay the price for your choices.

    • missskitttin says:

      Darwin!!!

  2. Seraphina says:

    So disheartening to see all these people gathering knowing what is going on at a global scale with COVID. But I have family members planning a wedding for mid October with about 200 people. People just don’t get it. Even if one is vaccinated you can catch the damn thing and it reeks havoc on your body.

    • Miranda says:

      October?! That is insane. We were planning on a wedding next spring, demanding vaccines for all guests, and just postponed for the 2nd time. I think we’ve finally reconciled ourselves to having a private ceremony in the next couple of months and throwing a huge party…someday, maybe? Obviously it sucks to see all that time and energy we spent planning go to nothing, but the alternative is spending your anniversary every year remembering all the people you hospitalized or killed.

      • Liz version 700 says:

        I’m so sorry that so much selfishness and greed has made your wedding so difficult to plan. That sucks

      • goofpuff says:

        Yeah I doubt anyone who is planning those big weddings ever bother to remember all the people they hospitalized or killed on their anniversary.

        I’m sorry it sucks but I’m happy you’re doing the right thing.

      • likethedirection says:

        Thank you for being so sane and considerate!!! My little brother is still proceeding with his October wedding — indoors, no mask mandate, most of our immediate family unvaccinated (…don’t get me started). Meanwhile my fiancé and I have postponed our *elopement* three times.

      • Rose says:

        Pa has a self uniting marriage license. My husband and I canceled our wedding last year and did a self uniting ceremony-only 2 witnesses needed to sign and it’s official. It’s not available I’m every state. We have absolutely no regrets and plenty of family and friends were angry with us. We coordinated a zoom so they could watch our vow exchange. They seem to forget the wedding is about 2 people. Not about everyone with an opinion. We are happily married 1+ year later. We’ll have a reception when we damn well please.

    • Remy says:

      I have a family member getting married in October as well. It’ll be in nyc, although a huge chunk of people will be flying in from California as well as abroad. They aren’t anti-vaxers or COVID deniers, but they refuse to postpone it any longer (they have already postponed it from last year). I kinda wish they would though. I think they whittled their guest list to 200 or so. The bride is the first one in her generation that is getting married, so naturally the family is excited. The groom’s family is scattered throughout the world, and most are wary about flying in. I think one of the groomsmen and bridesmaid have dropped out. The couple says that they completely understand if people are uncomfortable with attending.

  3. Indica says:

    Good lord. They won’t wear a mask but they will wear a helmet.

    The mental disconnect in these people is just staggering.

    • Ann says:

      Actually, there are plenty of states that don’t require adults to wear motorcycle helmets. Live free and die.

      • Indica says:

        Well, at least if they die that way they can donate organs to those who need it.

        I am excessively cynical these days, gee, I wonder why….

      • Celebitchy says:

        People who die of covid can donate organs to people who had covid and need organs actually. So there’s that.

      • Persephone says:

        @celebitchy that seems…crazy? Who’d want an organ from a covid patient?

    • Tom says:

      Betcha a lot of them are survivalists with a stockpile of freeze dried meals in their basements.

    • Jananell says:

      No they dont. Worked in a biker bar. No rules. Puhlease. The helmets they were are badass hats, sock hats.

    • Redheadwriter says:

      South Dakota has a mandatory eyewear regulation for motorcycles. Yet no one bitches about that.

  4. Lady Luna says:

    I feel sad for all the healthcare workers who have to deal with all these selfish people.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I have 2 high school classmates that are nurses at hospitals…and that are rabidly anti-vax and anti-mandate for those in healthcare. I’ve thought about replying, but it’s hard to make a compelling argument when the other side is being so illogical.

      There’s another person from high school that was anti-vax mandate for school children, and she had the nerve to say that “wasn’t like that when I was in school”. It took everything I had not to call BS and remind her that in our school system we had to be vaccinated against MMR/tetanus/Diptheria.

  5. girl_ninja says:

    These government officials are without morals or common sense. They ALL have blood on their hands.

    • lisa says:

      Face-recognition software is legal in a lot of areas. Insurance companies should study these photos, then deny covid-coverage if any of these come down with it. They would have to pay for their own treatment. The only way to get vax rates up is to hit people in the wallet and have others see it.

  6. Pocket Litter says:

    It was a superspreader event last year too.

  7. Lady D says:

    Darwin’s List is going to need space.

  8. Miranda says:

    My stepmom, an ER doctor, is retiring at the end of this year. She was worried that some might judge her harshly for walking away at a time like this, but realized that, because of selfish, stupid assholes like these people, a time NOT like this isn’t in the foreseeable future, and just wants out while she still has her health and sanity.

    • lanne says:

      I just read a story on reddit Leopards ate my face (great for schadenfreude) about an idiot daughter who tried to get the hospital to give her dad in the ICU Ivermectin (the horse medicine that causes people to shit their intestines out). Her dad finally died of Covid, but I can only imagine the doctors and nurses dealing with this idiot while they are trying to give all of their patients the best treatment they can. She’s trying to get her dad transferred out of the hospital to another that she claims will give her dad the horse medicine, zinc, and vitamin C. She’s interfering with their protocols and their ability to treat other patients. How doctors and nurses haven’t quit en masse I don’t know. I feel so bad for them.

    • Sid says:

      Health professionals really have my sympathy right now. It’s bad enough that there has long been a growing culture of people insisting they know more than trained healthcare workers because they can hop on the internet and use google. But now we are in a pandemic where many people are willfully refusing to following any safety measures to get us through this mess and think they can self-treat based on info from social media. But then they run to the ER when they realize the horse medicine isn’t working. I would be fed up too if I were your stepmom.

      • Kelly says:

        The type of person who thinks they know more than health professionals has always been present. Many anti vaxxers or vaccine skeptics, especially those with college and advanced degrees have that tendency. It’s telling that there are pockets of anti-vaxxer sentiment in highly educated areas of the county. The areas in the city where I live that have low rates of kids with their core vaccinations are in the more highly educated neighborhoods.

        One coworker is too ready for things to return to normal, even with increasing covid numbers and hospitals in worse positions than they were last year at this time. He’s also an obnoxious know it all mansplainer. He tried telling me that we’re fine because we are fully vaccinated and that the campus mask mandate is unnecessary. It took a lot of self control for me not to punch him in his balls. He has an advanced degree but can’t find a job beyond the entry level position he got immediately post degree. Instead of looking at how he could improve, he blames diversity outreach efforts for why he hasn’t gotten a better job. He’s really not the brightest bulb on the Xmas tree and very much overestimates his own intelligence.

        I’ve been back part time for a year now and have to be back full time this week. I didn’t bring back the monitor and work laptop because I’m expecting to have to pivot back to hybrid in less than a month. Last year, campus lasted a full week attempting hybrid because college students will be college students, covid or no covid. Campus admin is just as delusional this year. I’m sure that packing students into dorms and hosting football games at full capacity will lead to mostly in person instruction going hybrid by the middle of September.

  9. Jan says:

    Two of the top Anti- vax guys died over the weekend, a radio host from Florida, who left three young children and a pregnant wife, now she is on go-fund-me, this man spread so much bad info and probably contributed to more deaths among his listeners.
    The other guy a 32 year old from Texas was the leader of an anti-vax group, wonder if the next in line will hide and get the vaccine like the folks in Missouri.
    Kid Rock performed in Sturgis and half his band has Covid-19, so he canceled a performance, but people were wondering if it was COVID or low sale of tickets.

  10. Coji says:

    SO fucking irresponsible. 😡

  11. Snuffles says:

    One has to seriously wonder how this will affect future elections. The majority of Anti-Vax and Anti-Maskers are Republicans. These Republican politicians are literally killing off their constituents by taking these stances. By 2022, there will be even more dead. And the ones that don’t die will probably lose friends and family who do. By then they might have wisened up and not vote Republican next go round.

    • Lady D says:

      Optimistic view Snuffles, but I don’t think a lot of them will have wised up in the next 4 months.

      • Snuffles says:

        I’m talking about mid term elections. So, a year and some change.

      • Lady D says:

        Thanks Snuffles, I thought there was a midterm election this January.

      • Shoshone says:

        Many of these true believers will never “wise up”. They will be ride or die forever because they will never be able to admit to themselves as well as others that they made a horrible miscalculation. Already there are anti-vaxxers that have recovered from COVID in the ICU that are still refusing to admit that vaccinations are safe and effective or even that COVID exists. To do so would mean admitting that they were so stupid they almost killed themselves as well as suffering the ire and condemnation of their family and friends who are still true believers.

        Do not expect a widespread epiphany from this group. I meet them everyday and a lot of them are really nice and caring people who are not militant or strident. They are trying to be comforting and reassuring when they tell me I don’t have to be scared of COVID because they know that I handle ivermectin regularly in my work. I use it to help livestock that I am responsible for stay parasite free and healthy. It’s actually a wonderful drug when it is used for the purpose for which it was licensed and intended. I would never ever dream of injecting myself with livestock grade Ivermectin. Not just the poor quality of the drug but the dosage as well. If you overdose cattle or swine with Ivermectin they will have a seizure and they can die.

    • Roo says:

      They still have all their voter suppression laws to depend upon for their wins.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Their irresponsibility won’t just harm themselves, though. They will take out a lot of innocent people on their way out. Unfortunately, a lot of people who work in the service industry will die because of other people’s risk taking.

    • Moxylady says:

      This is why trump told them to get vaccinated. And then they booed him. So.

  12. JRenee says:

    My heart aches for the innocent folks who will be impacted by the actions of these attendees. This variant doesn’t have to spread like this, but people are so selfish…

    • Esmom says:

      It’s so true that it doesn’t have to be this way. This goes back to Trump’s insistence on politicizing the virus every step of the way.

      I just had an argument on FB with the owner of my former gym who says the vaccine isn’t necessary for “low risk” fit people and that masks are stupid. My former gym goers chimed in to support this, ranting about how the vaccine “isn’t safe.” These are the same people who don’t think twice about loading up on unregulated supplements with questionable ingredients. I can’t anymore.

  13. SarahCS says:

    I wonder how many people who went last year didn’t come back this year because they’re dead or dealing with long Covid.

    As others have said my sympathy is with those who are infected by these people and the healthcare staff who are already on their knees and now have more people who effectively consciously infected themselves.

    I saw someone on Twitter who said that we need to retire the phrase ‘avoid it like the plague’ because it turns out humans are pretty terrible at doing that.

  14. Emma says:

    “Showing papers” isn’t the American way? Are these people anti-driver’s licenses? Passports? Titles of houses? So brainwashed.

  15. Louise177 says:

    “We’re not going to start checking papers. I mean, that’s not really an American way.” The irony and hypocrisy of this statement is they are the same people who complain about wanting more proof for voting and immigration.

    • Anna says:

      Note the difference in race. As long as you’re white, no need to show papers, right? BIPOC we always have to be prepared.

    • goofpuff says:

      Its because they forgot a key word. “that’s not really the WHITE American way” but if you’re not white we’re gonna need you to show everything to vote, especially in counties that have large minority citizens.

    • Larisa says:

      Yes, remember how appalled they were when someone asked for Obama’s birth certificate?
      Oh wait…

  16. reef says:

    There’s been a low key push by medical professionals on Twitter and Tiktok on letting folks know about the urological research that COVID causes only surgically treated ED. By that I mean, COVID causes permanent vessel damage and there’s no Cialis/Viagra/pill on Earth that can treat COVID impotence. I hope it gains steam bc I think that’s the only way to get these types of people to get vaccinated.

    • Izzy says:

      This adverse health event was being talked about since early on in the pandemic. If everyone had led will this messaging, we’d have mask mandates and higher vaccination rates. Never underestimate the will of the average white guy to protect his boner.

  17. JennyJenny says:

    My husband’s chiropractor just died of Covid.
    A 51 year old man, very fit and healthy, yet was an anti-vaxxer.
    He touted the “effectiveness” of the supplements he and other chiropractor friends were taking….
    His poor wife and children; I hope the other chiropractors learned something here.

  18. Liz version 700 says:

    I remember that as Sturgis was responsible for causing the Midwest to become insane last year with Covid. The fact that they would do it again… No words

  19. Rapunzel says:

    My unvaxxed cousin, her umvaxxed hubby, and unvaxxed19 yr old son are all dealing with Covid right now. She wanted to give her can’t get vaxxed 6 yr old daughter ivermectin, which I suspect she, hubby and son are taking, even though they claim they got medicine from the doctor. She definitely told her mother-in-law she was thinking of giving the 6yr old daughter ivermectin as a preventative (mother-in-law told me) and the mother-in-law got furious and told her she was crazy. Cousin apparently backed down and didn’t give the kid ivermectin, but I am appalled. Cousin’s parents took the vax, btw. And cousin was 2.5lbs at birth (extreme premie) and generally not very healthy (weak lungs and heart), so covid could be very bad for her. We’ll see what happens, but damn it sucks some people are so stupid.

    • Roo says:

      OMG. They are insane. I’ve read that people have been literally pooping their intestines out and/or going blind on this stuff. I cannot fathom the mental gymnastics it takes to reject vaccines safely administered to hundreds of millions of people but blindly embrace an animal dewormer.

  20. Jananell says:

    Pro life huh? Abortionists and death assisters. They won’t accept pro choice. Now look.

  21. Lucy says:

    When I am a granny, I will holler at my grandkids like twice a week about how gd stupid everyone was during all this.

    If it does cause untreatable ED, that might be how we get out of this. It’ll either hit ppl in the pride, or at least make them unable to make more kids.

    I’m ready to start an agrarian commune so I don’t have to deal with this anymore.

  22. SusanRagain says:

    Read that headline twice. Think about it factually.
    I have little sympathy for these idiots that refuse to be vax.

    They are the ones that are causing this pandemic to continue, putting everyone at risk.
    Sturgis, State Fairs, School starts in less than 2 weeks.

    I predict by end of Sept. Minnesota will be distance learning again.
    My nephew is looking into hiring an online private tutor for his 3 kids.
    Homeschooling is becoming the talk of my area.

    If a vaccine to prevent cancer became available, how many would refuse it? Zero, IMO.
    Why can’t these tools open their minds?

    What’s not even funny or ironic? A fella I know IRL who has tried almost every recreational drug ever offered to him is refusing to be vaxd. WTH??

    God Help Us All.

    • goofpuff says:

      People respond to really scary things like the pandemic with attempts to control it that seem really bizarre to everyone else. Those people do not handle scary things well. They go into denial (its a hoax!) or try to do something they can control (antivax).

      The antivax movement was started by people who were scared of Autism and tried to find something they can control because the reality is that Autism is genetics and you can’t control that. Its people who can’t face the reality that there are things that they can’t control.

      Invermectin is them thinking they can control the disease on their own terms (they’ve already thrown themselves anti vax so their pride prevents them from admitting they were wrong), but the reality is they can’t. And taking an horse dewormer which has much large DANGEROUS dosage for humans (this is not the correct dose humans take) is damaging.

      Besides, how many Republicans must have stock in Invermectin….

      • Shoshone says:

        Again, livestock grade Ivermectin should never be taken by humans. I use it regularly with swine and cattle to treat both external (lice, mites, mange) and internal (a long list of adult internal worms) parasites. It’s a wonder drug for young animals who can easily die if they are infested. If you get the dosage or application rate wrong though, you will kill them. A friend misunderstood the dosage and overdosed a litter of weanling piglets once. Every piglet started seizing and died. He felt horrible about it. There is no medically established dosage or application rate for humans using livestock grade ivermectin products that you buy from the farm store. This is in addition to the fact that these farm store products products are not pharmaceutical (human grade) quality.

        This is driving me nuts.

  23. Ariel says:

    Why has no one made a document for these idiots to sign promising they will not seek medical attention if covid starts to kill them?
    Deep down, they know they are stupid. And they don’t want to die.

  24. lolalola3 says:

    We need an island. Like a leper colony. These a-holes do not have the right to burden already exhausted healthcare workers or spread to the sick, elderly or infirm. They all want to be together anyway, so let them. And while we are at it, Trump can be king of Moron Island. They can attack their own capital once every year. But they are far enough away that they can never come back. Like St Helena. Give them Napoleon’s old island. Oh but wait, that is already populated. Ok, a deserted island somewhere around there.

  25. jferber says:

    Not a problem for the rethugs if their voters die. 1) they’ve now found out how to re-program voting machines so they’ll illegally send votes to their candidates. 2) voter suppression. 3) gerrymandering. They’ve almost got it that none of their voters need to be alive anymore for them to win elections. Yikes!

  26. Christine says:

    “Not really an American way”?!?

    Hi, you absolute a-holes, of significant s*it. I live in LA, we had 2 entire weeks, in the last 18 months, where we were told that the fully vaccinated could wander around without masks. I am an American, and you are a total stain on democracy.