The governor of South Dakota dismissed data that showed the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally could cause thousands of new COVID-19 cases. The study estimated 250,000 new cases due to the event.
Governor Kristi Noem said she believes researchers “made up some numbers and published them.”
‘That’s actually not factual whatsoever,” Noem told 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. This study wasn’t even done by a health care study. It was done by the Institute of Labor Economics, and it’s completely untrue.”
The Institute tracked the number of people at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
In the study, the IZA Institute of Labor Economics estimated 20 percent of 1.4 million new COVID-19 cases between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2 came from the rally. Around 460,000 motorcycle enthusiasts, 90 percent from out of state, visited Sturgis in August due to the event. The study deemed the rally a “super-spreading event”. They estimated public health costs treating COVID-19 patients linked to the event will total $12.2 billion.
The Institute gathered information by using cell phone data to track the number of people arriving from out of town. They also tracked the rise in COVID-19 cases in Sturgis and areas where the people traveled. State face mask mandates and prohibition against indoor dining may halt infection rates in places, according to the study.
Noem dismissed the study as a work of “fiction” and called also out journalists for reporting on it.
So far, health officials have linked the event to 260 cases across 11 states. At least one man, a biker in his 60s, has died by contracting the virus from the event.
[H/T: Daily Mail]