After hundreds of thousands of bikers gathered at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, medical experts across the country are trying to determine how much and how quickly COVID-19 spread. The ten-day rally came to an end on Aug. 16.
Health professionals in the city of Sturgis are conducting mass testing on roughly 7,000 residents. In addition to Sturgis, health departments in at least six states are also tracking the potential outbreak.
Reports from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally revealed that hardly anyone wore masks. Experts called the annual event a potential “super spreader” as thousands of bikers gathered in bars and restaurants.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rallygoers Travel Across the Country
After the rally, bikers then returned home, traveling to over half of the counties in the United States, Fox News reports. Camber Systems, a firm that aggregates phone activity for health researchers, reports that Sturgis attendees later traveled back through 61% of all counties in the US.
Navin Vembar, the co-founder of Camber Systems, spoke out about the data during an interview with Fox News. “Imagine trying to do contact tracing for the entire city of (Washington), D.C., but you also know that you don’t have any distancing, or the distancing is very, very limited, the masking is limited,” Vembar says. “It all adds up to a very dangerous situation for people all over the place. Contact tracing becomes dramatically difficult.”
At this point, four states reported 81 total cases among those who attended the rally. The four states include South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. In addition to these four, South Dakota health officials shared reports earlier this week of infections from residents of North Dakota and Washington.
A rallygoer, Stephen Sample, returned to Arizona last week after visiting Sturgis. He says most everyone at the event ignored current health guidelines. “It all adds up to a very dangerous situation for people all over the place. Contact tracing becomes dramatically difficult.”
Khris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health, advises Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attendees to quarantine for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ehresmann says, “We’re expecting that we’re going to see many more cases associated with Sturgis.”
[H/T Fox News]