COVID be Damned: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally This Weekend
Even in the midst of a resurgence of the coronavirus, the Sturgis motorcycle rally will be taking place beginning this weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Associated Press is saying that the attendance is expected to reach around 700,000 people, which could prove to be the perfect breeding ground for a COVID outbreak.
According to Wikipedia, the annual event got its start in 1938 by a group of Indian Motorcycle enthusiasts and has grown exponentially since then. Sturgis, South Dakota, a town of around 7,000 people, swells during the rally to, on average, over half a million people for more than a week's worth of events: parties, concerts, contests, rides, meals and games that fill the rally schedule.
The city of Sturgis cancelled most of the "official" 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally events last year due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, but attendees still showed up - an estimated 460,000+; many without masks. The event is definitely an economic boom for the area, bringing in over $800 million each year, but: is it worth the risk?
Last year, a reported 649 cases of coronavirus infections from around the country were attributed to the rally and, experts feel, that is a low estimate, as many of the rally attendees would not speak to contact tracers. One COVID death was connected to last year's event, and health officials are worried that the number of deaths this year will be higher.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus has proven to be much more transmissible, so it only stands to reason that health officials are concerned.
Being a motorcycle owner, it has long been a dream to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. One day, sans pandemic, I hope to be able to do just that.
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