Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Kicks Off Amid Delta Covid Surge

ToplineDespite the recent surge in coronavirus cases across several states, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be welcoming as many as 700,000. Bikers to South Dakota from Friday, despite the fact that there has been a spike in new cases of the more-infectious Delta variant.Main Street is filled with thousands of motorcycles during the 61st Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, August 7, 2001 in Sturgis SD. Getty ImagesThe Key FactsThere are no restrictions on capacity or mask requirements for the event. Visitors are not required to present proof of vaccination or negative coronavirus tests. However, organizers will provide free sanitizing stations as well as Covid-19 self testing kits. Last week, the City of Sturgis approved a temporary open container policy that will allow bikers access to alcohol outdoors. This is to keep bars and other indoor venues in check. South Dakota has the lowest number of coronavirus cases per capita, but new cases have increased by 90% in the past two weeks. The state's population is approximately 47%, which is slightly less than the nationwide average of 50% that was reached Friday by the White House. The 700,000 attendees are a significant increase on the 460,000 who attended the event last year, which was held in the midst coronavirus epidemics. However, many city-sponsored events were cancelled. Researchers noted that the rally attracted 649 coronavirus-related deaths and six confirmed cases of the disease in April from the CDC. However, the researchers believe the numbers are probably low because it is more difficult to trace events involving travelers.Important BackgroundIn recent weeks, large events like the Sturgis rally came under scrutiny due to a rise in coronavirus infections as well as a sharp increase in hospitalizations caused by the delta variant of the coronavirus. A CDC study last week revealed that large public events were a major factor in the delta outbreak in Massachusetts last months. There were 469 cases linked to the virus, 74% of them in vaccinated individuals. According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, the study played a major role in the recommendation that last week's CDC recommend that people with high transmission rates cover up.Continue readingSturgis Motorcycle Rally Attracts Many, With Few Masks and Little Social Distancing. (Photos by Forbes)Lollapalooza and Sturgis Rally to be Covid-19 Coronavirus Delta Variant Superior Preader Events? (Forbes)