Super spreader event

A motorcycle rally is worth dying for, right? And worth killing people for?

More than two weeks after nearly half a million bikers flocked to South Dakota, the tally of coronavirus infections traced back to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has surpassed 260, an estimate that is growing steadily as more states report cases and at least one death.

A Minnesota man in his 60s who went to the rally was later hospitalized for COVID-19 and died earlier this week, said Kris Ehresmann, head of infectious disease for the Minnesota Department of Health.

Minnesota has counted more than 45 cases tied to the rally, and that only includes people who got tested and then notified state health departments about their possible exposure at Sturgis.

Which means it’s only a small fraction. How many people willing to ignore the warnings thoroughly enough to go to the rally are going to get tested afterwards? Not that many, I would think.

The event attracted national media attention and became a flashpoint in pandemic politics.

South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem – a strong ally of President Trump — encouraged people to attend the rally, despite warnings it could seed outbreaks in her state and across the country.

Noem has resisted pandemic precautions like requiring people to wear masks while in public or limiting large gatherings. In the last few weeks, South and North Dakota have emerged as coronavirus hot spots with the highest rates of new cases per capita in the country.

So that’s nice. The governor at the very least encouraged people to add to the burden on hospitals and medical staff.

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