How Many More Will Come?
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has concluded, and now we will see how many riders and attendees contracted COVID-19. The main concern surrounding the rally was the pandemic. A gathering as large as Sturgis is bound to cause issues, and now we’re seeing the beginning of those issues.
According to the Rapid City Journal, the first case of COVID-19 from the rally has been confirmed. Let’s hope it’s the last. However, I doubt we can say that. The person in question was in contact with many other people at the rally, and he visited One-Eyed Jack’s Saloon on Main St. in Sturgis.
While this is just one confirmed case, the implications could be dire. There were hundreds of thousands of people that visited Sturgis. According to RideApart, over 460,000 vehicles entered Sturgis over the course of the gathering. That’s a lot of vehicles and a lot of people. Even if the numbers are off, there’s potential to spread the virus to a lot of riders and other people across South Dakota and other states. Those riders didn’t stay in Sturgis, so that means they’re traveling around the country now.
I get why folks wanted to go. After being cooped up for months, getting out into the Black Hills on motorcycles may have seemed like a good idea. I’m sure at least some people who came to the Sturgis area were able to do so safely. As I mentioned in my article about the charitable giving to Meals on Wheels, not everyone stays in the town of Sturgis, and many come to simply ride the Black Hills and enjoy the great outdoors.
Still, it hardly seems smart in the middle of a pandemic that has killed over 170,000 Americans so far to hold a large gathering where there is potential to spread the virus more. The tracking of cases that originated in Sturgis is going to be difficult, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. It could take weeks if it’s ever accurately tracked at all.