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April 13, 2023
South Dakota’s COVID-19 cases increased by over 450 percent after 525,000 riders attended the 81st Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Meade County.
Before the rally, the latest state data reported 657 active cases, two weeks after the rally ended 3,655 active cases were reported. The event was held in the small town of Sturgis for 10 days, beginning August 6th, and ending on the 15th. Daniel Bucheli, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Health, told CBS News, “COVID-19 case spikes are following a national trend being experienced in every state, not just South Dakota.”
When asked about the decision to not require COVID-19 vaccination to attend the rally, the city manager, Daniel Ainslie said, “We’re not going to start checking papers. I mean, that’s not really an American way.”
Overall, 56 percent of the South Dakota population is fully vaccinated, and 62 percent have at least one dose. The spike in cases is not proven to be a result of the motorcycle rally, and mirrors a national increase in cases across states.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CBS NEWS