Nearly two weeks after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally drew hundreds of thousands of people to South Dakota amid a pandemic, between 70 to 100 cases of Covid-19 throughout the United States have been traced back to that event.
CNN reports that contact tracers in Minnesota have already tied 35 coronavirus cases to two people who worked at the rally and then returned to the state. Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health, previously told the Associated Press, “We’re expecting that we’re going to see many more cases associated with Sturgis.” Minnesotans returning from the rally were also advised to quarantine for two weeks upon returning.
Similar spreads have occurred in Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Washington and neighboring North Dakota.
Experts also estimate that people from 61% of the United States’ total counties attended the Sturgis rally. Ten days after the rally, CNN puts the number of Sturgis-related Covid-19 cases at over 70, while the Associated Press notes that state health departments have reported 103 cases, but that data was only collected from eight states.
Despite the pandemic, a Sturgis city manager told Rolling Stone that attendance at the annual event was only down about 3 to 5% from 2019. Several artists performed concerts at the event, including Guess Who, Lit and Smash Mouth, whose singer Steve Harwell declared at the show, “Now we’re all here together tonight. And we’re being human once again. Fuck that COVID shit.”
On Instagram this week, the band shared some of the “fan mail” they have received in the aftermath of that gig, including of a handwritten note and smashed CD sent from an assumingly former fan. The band did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.