Depending on your tolerance level for the latest developments on news surrounding those who refuse to treat the pandemic with anything even remotely approaching seriousness, you may or may not recall a massive gathering in South Dakota earlier this month that drew ire on social media.
Now, per public health officials who surely saw this coming, COVID-19 cases linked to the gathering (known as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally) have started popping up across state lines. Indeed, as the Scottsbluff Star Herald reported Thursday evening, at least seven new cases in the Nebraska area have now been tied to the rally.
"These are actually people who live in our Panhandle Public Health District area and that we have investigated, who went to Sturgis, and that was the point of exposure," Paulette Schnell, Scotts Bluff County Health Director, said of the cases when asked if they were comprised of people traveling through the area.
Perhaps shockingly (and certainly frustratingly), attendance for the 2020 edition of the gathering—which also included a live performance from Smash Mouth and others as part of the music festival aspect of the event—was down just 7.5 percent when compared with 2019. All told, more than 460,000 showed up, marking a noticeably higher total than health officials had predicted.
South Dakota, meanwhile, has seen the average number of daily new cases of COVID-19 increased by 32 over the past two weeks. As many as three locations tied to the rally have been publicly identified as potential virus exposure sites.
probably definitely a good time to be introduced to the existence of this: