The governor of South Dakota has claimed that infection stats showing a motorcycle rally could have caused 250,000 new Covid-19 cases are 'made up'.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which saw 460,000 motorcycle enthusiasts flock to the small rural town of Sturgis from all over the US last month, has been deemed a 'super-spreading event' that's reportedly responsible more than 260,000 cases of COVID-19, according to a study.
But Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, dismissed the findings by a German think tank, saying they had 'made up some numbers and published them.'
The estimation that nearly 20 percent of the 1.4 million new cases of coronavirus reported between August 2 and September 2 could be traced back to the rally was made by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics.
They also estimated that the public health costs for treating patients whose infections are linked to the event will around $12.2 billion.
'That's actually not factual whatsoever,' Noem, a Republican, said in a Fox News interview.
Gov. Kristi Noem (pictured) claimed that infection stats showing a motorcycle rally could have caused 250,000 new Covid-19 cases are 'made up'
Nearly 20 percent of all the new 1.4 million cases of coronavirus reported between August 2 and September 2 can be traced back to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota last month, economists say
A diagram shows where Sturgis rally attendees came from prior to the event, according to cellphone data
'What they did is they took a snapshot in time and they did a lot of speculation, did some back of the napkin math and made up some numbers and published them.
'This study wasn't even done by a health care study, it was done by the Institute of Labor Economics and it's completely untrue.'
The 10-day event took place between August 7 and August 14 in the town of Sturgis, which has a native population of just 7,000 people.
Photos from the rally showed scores of bikers packed into bars and restaurants without wearing face coverings or adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Photos from the rally showed scores of bikers packed into bars and restaurants without wearing face coverings or adhering to social distancing guidelines
'The spread of the virus due to the event was large,' the authors of the study wrote, 'because it hosted people from all over the country. But the severity of the spread was closely tied to the approaches to the pandemic by Sturgis attendees' home states.
'In some places, any spread related to people returning from the rally was blunted by strong mitigation measures, like a face-mask mandate or a prohibition against indoor dining.'
To gather information for their analysis, researchers used cell phone data to track the number of people who traveled into Sturgis from out of town during the rally and the corresponding rises in COVID-19 cases in Sturgis and in the areas from which they traveled.
According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, an estimated 462,182 vehicles entered Sturgis over the rally's 10 days - a 7.5 percent decrease in rally attendance from 2019.
The 10-day event took place between August 7 and August 14 in the town of Sturgis, which has a native population of just 7,000 people
Based on the data collected, researchers determined that over 90 percent of the rally's attendees travelled to Sturgis from out of state
Between August 2 and September 2, researchers said that the number of COVID-19 cases in Meade County, which is home to Sturgis, increased from between six and seven percent per 1,000 residents
Based on the data collected, researchers determined that over 90 percent of the rally's attendees travelled to Sturgis from out of state.
Of those individuals, only around 18.6 percent were from states bordering South Dakota, with some attendees traveling from as far away as Washington state, researchers said.
The majority of those who traveled to Sturgis came from the Midwest and South, it showed - states such as Texas and Arizona that were then in the grips of escalating outbreaks.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Between August 2 and