A Minnesota biker who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has died of covid-19 — the first fatality from the virus traced to the 10-day event that drew more than 400,000 to South Dakota.
The man was in his 60s, had underlying conditions and was hospitalized in intensive care after returning from the rally, said Kris Ehresmann, infectious-disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health. The case is among at least 260 cases in 11 states tied directly to the event, according to a survey of health departments by The Washington Post.
Epidemiologists believe that figure is a significant undercount, due to the resistance of some rallygoers to testing and the limited contact tracing in some states. As a result, the true scope of infections stemming from the rally that ran from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16 is unlikely to ever be known. Public health officials had long expressed concern over the decision to move forward with the annual event, believed to be the largest held anywhere in the U.S. since the pandemic shelved most large-scale gatherings.
Now, just over two weeks after the conclusion of the rally, the Midwest and the Dakotas in particular are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases even as infections decline or plateau in the rest of the country. South Dakota’s seven-day averages for new cases stood at 347 on Sept. 2 compared to 107 two weeks earlier and its total caseload was 14,003, up from 10,566, according to The Post’s tracking. In North Dakota, the seven-day averages for new cases was 257, up from 142 two weeks earlier and its total caseload was 12,267, compared to 8,968.
H/t BS at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.