Spring Break, or Bike Week?
The ten-day festival of rides, dines, and bike swaps came to an end on March 14th, 2021. This wasn’t any small-scale event, either. Over 300,000 riders made their way to Daytona to celebrate the eightieth anniversary of the event. It’s been two weeks since the festival, and cases local to the Florida area are quickly rising.
Before jumping to conclusions, however, It’s important to keep in mind that spring break for American schools also happened to be at the same time, and Florida (and Daytona Beach, in particular) is a hotspot for party-goers and spring breakers. There is no way to different cases that were seeded at Bike Week, or from the numerous party-goers enjoying their spring break.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported a 41% spike in COVID-19 cases in the local area, where Flagler County saw a 24% spike; both counties host events during Bike Week.
Makella Coudray – University of Central Florida infectious disease epidemiologist – told The Daytona Beach News-Journal in an interview regarding the spike in cases: “Given that the majority of the population was unvaccinated at the time of the event and the lack of adherence to safe COVID-19 guidelines, evidenced by pictures from the event, COVID-19 spread was likely,”
“Continued gatherings of this magnitude, prior to herd immunity being reached, can facilitate the spread of COVID-19, which is of particular concern as new variants have emerged with increased disease morbidity” she continued.
Tom Caffrey, a busines owner located in Daytona Beach didn’t seem particularly phased by the increase in cases, “It’s also spring break, It’s natural that the numbers will go up”.
Beyond the spike in cases, the festival saw a total of six motorcycle-related deaths.