The annual bikefest at the Lake of the Ozarks hosted the large motorcycle rally last weekend as normal, despite an increase in COVID-19 cases in Missouri. The rally began just weeks after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota that was linked to numerous COVID-19 transmissions, and one person’s death.
The 14th annual Bikefest Lake of the Ozarks began Wednesday, Sept. 16 and ended Sunday, Sept. 20. Rallies in past years have drawn more than 100,000 people to the area, NBC affiliate KSDK reported.
The motorcycle-based event featured more than 50 live shows and over 300 “biker-friendly” bars, restaurants and hotels. Additionally, the event gave away a Harley Davidson to one lucky winner.
“If I was worried about getting sick I would have stayed home,” a rally visitor told MSNBC, “but I wanted to have some fun.”
MSNBC also reported that the 2020 bike event was “comparable” in size to previous year’s events. Videos posted to social media from the event showed few masks worn by Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest attendees.
Missouri Bikefest One of Many Events Concerning Health Officials
The Missouri bike rally wasn’t the only mass gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic that made news. After footage went viral of packed pool parties on Memorial Day weekend, state health officials implored people to self-quarantine.
When Missouri lifted its pandemic restrictions in June, the state had around 15,000 positive COVID-19 cases. By September, the state’s positive COVID-19 cases increased substantially. In fact, as of Monday, the numbers stand at 112,844, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.
Missouri’s bike rally wasn’t the only state with a large event that concerned health officials. In August, South Dakota hosted the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Sturgis was definitively linked to positive COVID-19 cases in eight states and to at least one death.
One study reported that more than 250,000 cases could be tracked back to visitors who attended the Sturgis rally.
In March, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx predicted that in a best-case scenario, the U.S. would see 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths “if we do things almost perfectly.”
Around six months on from Birx’s comments, America passed that milestone with 200,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths so far in 2020.
[H/T NBC News]