It was wild last year when the South Dakota-based biker rally was held in the thick of the pandemic. This year though, despite a more contagious variant of Covid, the super spreader event is back. NBC News reports that it’s expected to be bigger than ever.
Last year, over 460,000 bikers from all over the country showed up. Not a mask was found in the packed bars and restaurants as people behaved as though Covid wasn’t a thing.
Unfortunately, the even is supposed to be bigger this year. Estimates say 700,000 bikers are expected to show up in the small town of just 7,000 people, ready or not.
The rally is a behemoth, and you cannot stop it,” said Carol Fellner, a local who worried that this year’s event would cause a fresh outbreak of cases. “I feel absolutely powerless.
Even the states Republican Gov. Kristi Noem is getting in on the fun not only endorsing the event, but also appearing in a ride for charity. Defenders of the rally pretty much have one argument: It’s outside. That doesn’t hold up though, as the event last year (which included a number of packed indoor bars) turned out to be a super spreader event.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s defenders argue open air is plentiful on the meandering highways and in the campgrounds where many bikers stay, but contact tracers last year reported 649 virus cases from every corner of the country linked to the rally, including one death.
As someone who not only had Covid (most of my immediate family as well), but also lost my grandfather to it last summer, this kind of stuff is not only infuriating but frustrating. It’s simple to take precautions to protect oneself if you’re going to do things like this. Or just not do them at all, especially if you’re unvaccinated.