Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Is Now Linked to More Than 250,000 Coronavirus Cases

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  tessylo  •  3 weeks ago  •  48 comments

By:   Inae Ho, Mother Jones

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Is Now Linked to More Than 250,000 Coronavirus Cases

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




6 HOURS AGO

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Is Now Linked to More Than 250,000 Coronavirus Cases


One study estimates the public health cost of the super-spreading event is near $12 billion.




News and Engagement Editor






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Grace Pritchett/AP


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The inevitable fallout from last month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an annual event that packed nearly 500,000 people into a small town in South Dakota, is becoming clear, and the emerging picture is grim. According to a   new study,   which tracked anonymized cellphone data from the rally, over 250,000 coronavirus cases have now been tied to the 10-day event, one of the largest to be held since the start of the pandemic. It drew motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country, many of whom were seen without face coverings inside crowded bars, restaurants, and other indoor establishments.  The explosion in cases, the study from the Germany-based IZA Institute of Labor Economics finds, is expected to reach $12 billion in public health costs.

“The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally represents a situation where many of the ‘worst-case scenarios’ for super-spreading occurred simultaneously,” the researchers wrote, “the event was prolonged, included individuals packed closely together, involved a large out-of-town population, and had low compliance with recommended infection countermeasures such as the use of masks.”   The conclusion, while staggering, is unlikely to surprise to public health officials who warned that proceeding with the rally could be disastrous, particularly given the region’s relaxed attitude towards social distancing guidelines and some of the attendees’ mockery of the pandemic. “Screw COVID. I went to Sturgis,” read one t-shirt  from the rally, where  overwhelming support for President Trump was the norm.  The study comes on the heels of the first reported death from the event, a Minnesota man in his 60’s who attended the rally who died last week. South Dakota now has one of the country’s highest rates of coronavirus cases. 



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Tessylo
1  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

Obviously Kristi Noem cares more about money than people.  

 
 
 
Gsquared
1.1  Gsquared  replied to  Tessylo @1    3 weeks ago

Kristi Noem cares more about money than people

Except for the $12 billion in public health costs.

 
 
 
Tessylo
2  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

“The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally represents a situation where many of the ‘worst-case scenarios’ for super-spreading occurred simultaneously,” the researchers wrote, “the event was prolonged, included individuals packed closely together, involved a large out-of-town population, and had low compliance with recommended infection countermeasures such as the use of masks.”     The conclusion, while staggering, is unlikely to surprise to public health officials who warned that proceeding with the rally could be disastrous, particularly given the region’s relaxed attitude towards social distancing guidelines and some of the attendees’ mockery of the pandemic. “Screw COVID. I went to Sturgis,” read one  t-shirt   from the rally, where    overwhelming support  for President Trump was the norm.   The study comes on the heels of the first reported death from the event, a Minnesota man in his 60’s who attended the rally who died last week. South Dakota now has one of the country’s highest rates of coronavirus cases. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

Who didn't see that coming.  

 
 
 
cjcold
3.1  cjcold  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @3    3 weeks ago
Who didn't see that coming. 

Trump supporters? 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
3.1.1  Ozzwald  replied to  cjcold @3.1    3 weeks ago
Trump supporters? 

They're just too used to keeping their eyes closed in regards to anything Trump.

see-no-evil-monkey.png

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3.1.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  cjcold @3.1    3 weeks ago

They did but just didn't care.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4  Perrie Halpern R.A.    3 weeks ago

I'm shocked! Shocked I say. So nice that all of us have to pay for this mess.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

We're getting screwed, and won't even get a kiss out of the deal Perrie.... 

Just more irresponsibility from a group of people that only think about themselves.  

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

Sturgis should be hit with a hefty fine for allowing the rally to be held.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.2.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.2    3 weeks ago

For the town of Sturgis, the decision was a financial one, not a patriotic one.  The amount they make at this event most likely carries them through the entire year.  Let's just hope their medical costs or worse funeral costs don't overtake what they hoped to gain by holding the event.

As far as the long term financial costs from super spreader events.....  If the case to limit contact hasn't enlightened the masses through logic and reason yet, it's not going to.    

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4.2.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4.2.1    3 weeks ago

There were stimulus programs available for businesses.  Did Sturgis even try or just say fuck it, the bikers will take care of us.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.2.3  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.2.2    3 weeks ago

Death and a plague on America doesn't seem to be much of a concern to Trump supporters.    

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago

We knew this would happen. We KNEW.

TrumpTrueBelieversTM knew it, too. They proved their devotion to Trump by purposefully risking infection. They proved their devotion to Trump by purposefully becoming spreaders.

They proved their devotion to Trump by purposefully becoming accomplices in mass murder.

Now we shall observe TrumpTrueBelieversTM justifying the deaths they caused.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Bob Nelson @5    3 weeks ago
Now we shall observe TrumpTrueBelieversTM justifying the deaths they caused

They won't care cause their savoir doesn't either.

 
 
 
Tessylo
6  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Gsquared
6.1  Gsquared  replied to  Tessylo @6    3 weeks ago

Since they were willing to get exposed, I guess they don't care much about themselves either.

 
 
 
Tessylo
7  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

I'm just waiting for the trumpturd supporters to blame this on protesters.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
7.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @7    3 weeks ago

They're doing that on Nerm-L's double posting of this article.  

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
8  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

I’d call this junk science, but that’s an insult to junk.  If you fall for this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

 
 
 
Tessylo
8.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Sean Treacy @8    3 weeks ago

Junk science based on what?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
8.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Tessylo @8.1    3 weeks ago

The researchers arrived at the figures by analyzing anonymized cellphone data to track the smartphone pings from non-residents and movement of those before and after the event

The study then linked those who attended and traveled back to their home states, and compared changes in coronavirus trends after the rally's conclusion.

Wow! How scientific! Phone pings of all things!

jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8.1.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @8.1.1    3 weeks ago

It's science, Greg. 

So I guess it's too hard, for some people...

 
 
 
Gsquared
8.2  Gsquared  replied to  Sean Treacy @8    3 weeks ago

Sure.  They all ingested bleach and it went away.  Real science, right?

 
 
 
MUVA
8.2.1  MUVA  replied to  Gsquared @8.2    3 weeks ago

No and no one ever said to ingest bleach where did you get that ridiculous idea I know CNN. 

 
 
 
MUVA
8.3  MUVA  replied to  Sean Treacy @8    3 weeks ago

You are 100 percent right.

 
 
 
Tacos!
9  Tacos!    3 weeks ago
According to a      new study,      which tracked anonymized cellphone data from the rally, over 250,000 coronavirus cases have now been tied to the 10-day event, one of the largest to be held since the start of the pandemic.

Phone data? Oh Lord! Why do people publish such nonsense and try to pass it off as science? Just as bad, why does the media spread it? And why do people blindly believe it? This kind of loose correlational data tells you nothing about cause and effect and considers no other possible factors.

The explosion in cases

There is no explosion in cases. This is not to say I doubt that Sturgis attendees spread the virus. I'd say that's common sense. However, the rally began on August 7 and ended 10 days later. Starting from August 9, there have been 1,240,129 new cases in the United States. We're supposed to believe that fully 20% of those cases are because of Sturgis? That they wouldn't have happened but for the rally?

Sorry, but that defies common sense. There are countless other interactions between people that happen every day. If these people weren't at Sturgis, they would have been somewhere else spreading their germs.

Don't just accept numbers as being significant without context. There has been a general decline in the rate of daily new cases going back to July 17, and the slope of that curve did not change after Sturgis . Covid infections were declining before Sturgis and they continue to decline after Sturgis.

 
 
 
KDMichigan
9.1  KDMichigan  replied to  Tacos! @9    3 weeks ago
Sorry, but that defies common sense.

Ding ding ding. but it does make for a good read for the TDS afflicted.

For the life of me I don't know why these people complain about 'Trump' supporters not wearing masks. I mean the snowflakes are wearing them so they are protected, right?

 
 
 
Gsquared
9.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  KDMichigan @9.1    3 weeks ago

You're willing to make good on the $12 billion?

 
 
 
Adam_Selene
9.2  Adam_Selene  replied to  Tacos! @9    3 weeks ago

Remember a few days ago we were speculating on  Covid spread in NM. One opinion (I believe it was yours) was that it had been slow in NM because of the low population density? It was a good idea - I looked at it but most of the population is concentrated in cities and large towns where the county population density is pretty high. I still think the State population density is important but there is something else related to it.

This study looks at individual mobility as a significant factor in the spread rate. They use cell phone data to track general movement of those who attended Sturgis.

If you are interested in the study, here is the link. Clicking on it will download a PDF file

PDF download link

 
 
 
Tacos!
9.2.1  Tacos!  replied to  Adam_Selene @9.2    3 weeks ago

I understand the study. I stand by my earlier comment.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
9.2.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tacos! @9.2.1    3 weeks ago
try to pass it off as science

In every cop show on TV, we see that "relay tower location data" is useful in criminal investigations.

Do you have no faith in cop shows??

 
 
 
bccrane
9.3  bccrane  replied to  Tacos! @9    3 weeks ago
There are countless other interactions between people that happen every day. If these people weren't at Sturgis, they would have been somewhere else spreading their germs.

So what are you saying, people can get this virus in other ways than just a cell phone passing near by?

Did you see the studies that tied the common cold and the flu to Sturgis as well?  Yeah i didn't either, if they say 250,000 covid19 cases from Sturgis then there should be millions of cold and flu cases tied to Sturgis also.

 
 
 
Tessylo
10  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

Post your own article on it Tacos.  That's not from my article.  

 
 
 
Tacos!
10.1  Tacos!  replied to  Tessylo @10    3 weeks ago

I commented on the subject and content of your article. Don't like my opinion? Too bad.

 
 
 
Tessylo
10.1.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Tacos! @10.1    3 weeks ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Tessylo
11  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

119060470_175095727508921_6987417681263689917_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=825194&_nc_ohc=THu0Xno3XJEAX_s8VP8&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=010bed660a381b99567f35df6b564945&oe=5F7E8DA8

 
 
 
Tessylo
12  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

https://www.yahoo.com/news/sturgis-motorcycle-rally-spread-coronavirus-across-the-nation-leading-to-12-billion-in-healthcare-costa-182736696.html

Politics

Sturgis motorcycle rally was a 'superspreader event'

COVID-19 death tied to Sturgis Rally reported in Minnesota
Yahoo News Video
WASHINGTON — 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.” 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.

e09f5720-f1f2-11ea-b6bf-0f94da27d0ca
Motorcyclists on Aug. 7 during the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

The findings come in   a new paper , “The Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and COVID-19,” published by IZA — Institute of Labor Economics, a German think tank. Its four authors are all researchers affiliated with American universities.

It is not clear if the study was subject to peer review.

The rally was held in a state whose governor, Kristi Noem, is a close Trump supporter and, like the president, a skeptic of many coronavirus mitigation measures, such as the wearing of face masks. And while the rally itself had no political orientation, Trump has made overtures to bikers, even inviting some to ride at the White House. At the Sturgis rally, a group called Bikers for Trump   registered voters.

The new research paper contains an unlikely but telling quotation from Steve Harwell, singer for the band Smash Mouth, which performed at this year’s rally: “Now we’re all here together tonight. And we’re being human once again. F*** that COVID s***.” Trump used a Smash Mouth song during the 2016 campaign; the band   played at the Lincoln Memorial   ahead of his 2017 presidential inauguration.

Many of the researchers behind the Sturgis study previously examined the protests against police brutality that swept across the nation earlier this summer. Many Trump supporters wondered why neither the media nor public health professionals condemned those protests, when they seemed to plainly contravene social distancing guidelines. But most people at those protests wore masks, and there was virtually no indoor socializing of the kind that aerosol scientists say poses the highest risk of viral transmission. That combination  prevented those protests  from becoming superspreader events.

 
 
 
Adam_Selene
13  Adam_Selene    3 weeks ago

For those who would like to actually read the study, I will include a PDF download link at the bottom of this post. Bring snacks.

Why economists doing the research - why not - it's just numbers.

The study - using cell phone location information the researchers determined the home counties that had many attendees at   the Sturgis event. (Obviously only those who carried cell phones.)

They then compared the number of Covid cases in those counties before the event with the number of cases on or about August 16 and then September 2nd.

Compared to similar control locations with no or few attendees, the counties with many attendees had increases of between 6% to 12%. (There appear to be a mitigating circumstance where counties had stricter social distancing and mask requirements.)

The 250,000 number is estimated from the accumulated percentage increases.

Are their conclusions reasonable - maybe.

If 500,000 attended and just  2% get infected because of the event - that's 10,000. They go home and contribute to increasing the spread rate in their home counties. Covid has been known to double every 2 days in some countries - and has doubled every 6 days in the US in some situations. Should that be the case - 10,000 doubling every 6 days gives you about 160,000 in three weeks.

Are their conclusions correct? Don't know - but they are not "lies".

The use of cell phone data makes a needed contribution in explaining how having a very mobile population may contribute more to the spread that just population density. Note - it's not the traveling but the number of new contacts you encounter in close proximity in your traveling.

Clicking on this link will open a PDF file on your computer .

PDF Download LINK  IZA Institute of Economics

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
14  Buzz of the Orient    3 weeks ago

I'm just curious about how many of the attendees have succeeded in murdering their parents and/or grandparents.  

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
14.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @14    3 weeks ago
succeeded in murdering their parents and/or grandparents.

My (long-since adult) son rides a big BMW... but he isn't so stupid as to go to Sturgis.

Thank God.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
15  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago

Results Are In:
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Was A COVID 'Super Spreader' Costing Billions

original Getty Images

Anyone with a brain could tell that putting on the  gigantic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this year would be a bad idea . Now we have a scientific study to affirm this was a worst-case scenario, an event that appears to be accountable for 250,000 cases of COVID-19 at a public cost of $12 billion.

Excuse me, did I say that Sturgis was a worst-case scenario? What I meant to say was that Sturgis was   multiple   worst case scenarios rolled into one, as noted by a new paper from the   IZA Institute of Labor Economics , a nonprofit supported by the Deutsche Post Foundation and affiliated with the University of Bonn:

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. The only large factors working to prevent the spread of infection was the outdoor venue, and low population density in the state of South Dakota.

Most anyone who has done a cross-country road trip in the summer has seen groups of riders converging on a small town in South Dakota: Sturgis. This year, according to the IZA study, 460,000 people attended, and these people were given a very Trump-era level of safety precautions, as the study explains:

COVID-19 mitigation efforts at the Sturgis Rally were largely left to the “personal responsibility” of attendees (Knowles and Lati 2020), and post-opening day media reports suggest that social distancing and mask-wearing were quite rare in Sturgis (Walker 2020; Porterfield 2020; Orecchio-Egresitz 2020; Groves 2020).

Now, anyone with a bit of sense knew this was going to happen. What’s new is that the report gives us a sense of just how bad this really was. According to the study, Sturgis accounted for a 35 percent increase in cases in South Dakota, and raised rates significantly in every county that visitors returned to. Enough that for the month in which Sturgis took place, the rally was responsible for a fifth of the cases in the entire country:

original

What’s tragic is that South Dakota was kind of lucking out in terms of COVID. It’s not a dense population, and had low rates even with no lockdown, travel restrictions or mask requirements. And then Sturgis:

original

The study goes on to note that the lack of actual government systems in place to prevent big, unmasked gatherings made it difficult to actually prevent Sturgis from happening. Officials also figured that the typical Sturgis attendee would show up anyway, so they tried to mitigate the harm as best they could by upping hospital beds and sanitizing surfaces. Nice try! Here’s what these poor public officials went up against:

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was held over a 10-day period from August 7 through August 16, 2020, with pre-Rally events beginning on August 3. Estimated attendance was 462,182 (South Dakota Department of Transportation 2020). The Rally included rides and races (drag, motocross, motorcycle), bike shows, poker tournaments, boxing matches, exhibitions, contests, vendors (tattoo artists, rally merchandise, bike washes, apparel), and music events (concerts, disk jockeys, dancers). Over 30 entertainment groups performed concerts or held events at over the course of the two-week period (80th Sturgis Rally Events Schedule 2020; City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Concerts 2020). Venues were both indoor and outdoor, located within Meade County, and included bars on the Main Street of Sturgis to campgrounds outside of city limits, most notably Buffalo Chip. Beginning on August 3, Buffalo Chip held dozens of events every day through the 16th, including a headlining performance by musical group Smash Mouth (2020 Sturgis Buffalo Chip Schedule).

What’s incredible is this study was able to figure out that not only did Sturgis go on this year in spite of COVID, it looks as if it specifically attracted the least safety-conscious people possible. I say that because of this incredible tidbit in the study:

Moreover, liquor store sales in Sturgis were up 27 percent from the prior year, which could be representative of a less risk averse population of attendees given that attendance was down roughly 7.5 percent from the prior year (Bonnet 2020).

The paper concludes that its cost estimate is based on nobody even dying from their positive cases. We know that’s overly optimistic, as the first Sturgis-linked death was   already reported last week . Even assuming no deaths, though, our country could have saved money by paying everyone arriving at Sturgis $26,000 to turn right back around:

If we conservatively assume that all of these cases were non-fatal, then these cases represent a cost of over $12.2 billion, based on the statistical cost of a COVID-19 case of $46,000 estimated by Kniesner and Sullivan (2020). This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend.

This is a rather dollar-oriented view of this outbreak, which makes sense given that it’s from a labor institute, but I would still suggest   reading it in full . It’s incredible to see how vulnerable we all are, even months into this, with no clear government support to keep everyone home from work, insured and wearing a mask.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
15.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Bob Nelson @15    3 weeks ago

Sturgis has a population of around 7,000 yet they manage to infect 250,000.  That is seriously fucked up.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
15.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @15.1    3 weeks ago

pulation of around 7,000 yet they manage to infect 250,000.  That is seriously fucked up

Maybe because it's not true?  Even if the math is too hard, use your common sense.  There are about 260 actual cases tied to Sturgis. That's reality.

It's amazing how gullible progressives are when they hear nonsense that conforms to their bias.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
16  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

It’s incredible to see how vulnerable we all are, even months into this, with no clear government support to keep everyone home from work, insured and wearing a mask.

Everyone? Governmental mandate? Not a very real or practical solution. Very tenuous and weak link between phone data and new cases.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
16.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @16    3 weeks ago

Other countries did it, and fewer people died. 

Don’t try to say that Australia, New Zealand, Canada, ... are less free and democratic than America. The only difference is that their leaders led. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
16.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Bob Nelson @16.1    3 weeks ago

I just read that in an interview for Bob Woodward's new book Trump said he deliberately played down the virus. So now he's trying to cover his ass for his negligent mismanagement and ignoring the seriousness of it.  Again he blames China - but China is not responsible for the uncontained SPREAD and massive numbers of infections and deaths in America. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
17  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

The more you read about this, the funnier it gets.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-sturgis-statistical-misfire-11599694411

It turns out, the 12.2 billion dollar"cost"  assume all 250,000 will require hospitalization at a cost of about $46,000 each.   Think about how stupid that is.

 
 
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