In a turn of events that no one could have possibly foreseen, COVID-19 cases are spiking in Florida after the 80th Annual Daytona Bike Week, RideApart reports. And I can’t help but think: If only there had been some way to avoid this.
Like, not encouraging folks to go to Daytona Bike Week? Or better yet, don’t have a Daytona Bike Week at all during a public health crisis. Both of these ideas, it seems, were no-go for the riders who gathered in Daytona Beach for the event, which ran from March 5 through March 14.
Some days after the close of the event, the numbers came in. And they were not good. Two counties that hosted the event, both directly and indirectly, reported significant jumps in COVID-19 infection rates, according to Ride Apart:
Florida’s Volusia and Flagler counties host Bike Week events and attendees throughout the annual gathering. On March 26, 2021, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Volusia County experienced a 41 percent surge in COVID-19 cases. Flagler County wasn’t far behind with a 24 percent jump. Statewide, the numbers reflect a 3 percent increase in cases two weeks following the 2021 Daytona Beach bash.
The increase in cases came despite the city’s best efforts to address the risks. I’m being sardonic here because Florida was one of the few states that didn’t even put a mask mandate in place, according to CNN. In the period leading up to the event, Daytona Beach officials set some guidelines for the sake of public safety, according to the Daytona Beach News Journal:
Yes, there were concessions to the ongoing pandemic, ranging from the stretches of barricades that restricted motorcycle parking in the name of social distancing to the 60% capacity limits at many indoor bars instituted by the City of Daytona Beach.
But obviously those tepid guidelines didn’t do much to curb the spread of infections. Additionally, Florida has seen a big increase in the COVID-19 variants, per USA Today, which has also affected the rate of infections. So why was this even a thing this year? Just cancel it!
Oh, God. It’s the 2020 that just doesn’t end. We’ve all been stuck in this single year regardless of what the calendar says, and shit like this is gonna keep us in the same place for months. Folks, I’m not saying you have to hunker down in a storm cellar or enter some nuclear bunker lest we all die, but at the very least try to avoid gathering by the thousands.
Riding is very much still on the table. Put on your helmet and go for a solo ride. Take solace in the cocoon of your full-face lid, and take in the miles.