The New Cases
Forbes reported that there are currently 216 patients with COVID-19 that are in the hospital. That is a record high for the state. Before the rally, the number of hospitalized patients was extremely lower with 66 people. As of Saturday (September 26), there were 579 cases. Unfortunately, on Thursday (September 24), eight South Dakota citizens died from the virus, a record.
Over 365,000 attendees were at the rally, which is over 40% of the state’s population. Notably, the state does not have any health and safety rules or mandates in place. There are also no face mask mandates in any public spaces in the state.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Reports
There were several reports regarding the rally’s impact on public health and safety.
The IZA Institute of Labor Economics released a report that claimed that the event cost $12 billion in public health. The dollar amount is based on estimations that patients who test positive for COVID-19 will expend an average cost of $46,000. The researchers claim that over 266,000 people were infected with the virus from the 10-day event.
Johns Hopkins researchers contested the validity of their study. They noted that the report should be interpreted cautiously.
“The case data show relatively stable trends prior to the event and clear changes around the event, with little reason to believe that the changes in cases could have been caused by anything but the event,” the Johns Hopkins researchers explained. They added that the event would cause a large increase in COVID-19 cases. However, infections are likely to be robust with the methodologies that they used.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem claimed that researchers “made up some numbers and published them.”
“That’s actually not factual whatsoever,” she shared with Fox News. “What they did is they took a snapshot in time, and they did a lot of speculation. [They] did some back of the napkin math and made up some numbers and published them.” She added that it is not a health care study and that it is completely untrue.