Motorcycle Rally Revs Up the Delta Variant

Motorcycle Rally Revs Up the Delta Variant

Last August, 460,000 bikers from all over the country headed to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota’s Black Hills. Many carried Covid-19 back home. Contact tracing was nearly impossible, but at least 649 Covid-19 cases were linked directly to the Sturgis rally, and they passed the virus around to friends and family. One estimate put cumulative infections from the event at 250,000 nationwide, generating public health costs of $12.2 billion.

The 2021 Sturgis Rally started Friday, with 700,000 riders expected, and something new has been added, the Delta Variant, which is more contagious, and makes people sicker. Sturgis is in Meade County, which has a 37 percent vaccination rate, and rates in the six bordering counties are even lower.

Naturally, pistol-packin’hard-drivin’snake-oil pushingTrump-touting former beauty queen and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will be attending.


“South Dakota’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: A ‘cautionary tale’ in the age of Covid-19,” By Ray Sanchez, CNN

“Sturgis bike rally revs back bigger, despite virus variant,” Stephen Groves, Associated Press

“Sturgis Motorcycle Rally revs up, drawing thousands and heightening delta superspreader fears,” Timothy Bella, Washington Post

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Image (“Disease Vector”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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