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Sun Oct 18, 2020, 08:35 AM

How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest

Source: Washington Post

How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest

Within weeks of the gathering that drew nearly half a million bikers, the Dakotas, along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita.

By Brittany Shammas and Lena H. Sun
10/17/2020, 6:56:40 p.m.

It had been a long ride back from Sturgis, S.D., so when he first felt an ache at the back of his throat, Kenny Cervantes figured he was just tired. Hed traveled the 400-some miles on his Harley, rumbling through wide-open farm and prairie land on his way home to Riverdale, Neb., where his girlfriend was waiting.

A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, the 50-year-old construction worker and father of five had been determined to go to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a holy grail for bikers. Even when his girlfriend, Angie Balcom, decided to stay back because she was worried about being around so many people during a pandemic, Cervantes was adamant about going.

I dont think there was nothing that was going to stop me, he said.

Back home, Cervantes took Tylenol for his throat and went to bed early. But he woke up the next morning coughing so hard he struggled to catch his breath. Over the next few days, the pain in his chest made him fear that his heart might stop, and a test later confirmed he had the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19. He was admitted to the hospital 11 days later, on Aug. 27. Soon, his girlfriend and his sister were sick, and Cervantes was going over everything he did and every place he visited in Sturgis, wondering where the virus had found him.

Within weeks of the gathering, the Dakotas, along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita. The surge was especially pronounced in North and South Dakota, where cases and hospitalization rates continued their juggernaut rise into October. Experts say they will never be able to determine how many of those cases originated at the 10-day rally, given the failure of state and local health officials to identify and monitor attendees returning home, or to trace chains of transmission after people got sick. Some, however, believe the nearly 500,000-person gathering played a role in the outbreak now consuming the Upper Midwest.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/17/sturgis-rally-spread/

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Reply How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest (Original post)
Eugene Oct 18 OP
progree Oct 18 #1

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Oct 18, 2020, 09:23 AM

1. No, Minnesota was not and is not among the states leading the nation in new Covid infections

I've been following Minnesota daily for several months, and checking its ranking among states in daily new cases per capita, 7 day moving average. It has ranked around 17th or 18th worse in the past several weeks, while NoDak, SoDak, Wisconsin, and Iowa have ranked like #1, #2, #3, and #6 in that metric (for a couple of days Iowa was #4) for many weeks. (Iowa has recently slipped to #8).

Right now the top states are (in daily new cases per capita, last 7 days):
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html
1. NoDak
2. SoDak
3. Montana
4. Wisconsin (was #3 for weeks until a few days ago)
5,6,7: Nebraska, Utah, Idaho
8. Iowa (borders SoDak, Minn, Wisconsin and 3 other states)
9. Wyoming
...
17. Minnesota

the Dakotas, along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita.


Scratch Minnesota, add Iowa to the list,

However, Minnesota lately has been growing rapidly (+44% in last 14 days) and is setting daily new all-time highs for the state. But it maintains a ranking in the #17 to #18 range because the top (worst) third of states are collectively also growing fast.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/minnesota-coronavirus-cases.html

I don't doubt that Minnesota was hit hard by Sturgis - for example, the Twin Cities was the largest transit point in the nation for traffic from Sturgis outside of SoDak, based on a map I saw of cellphone tracking data. But Minnesota is almost an oasis COMPARED TO its 4 U.S. neighbors (NoDak, SoDak, Wisconsin, Iowa), given that none of its neighbors have had tight state-wide restrictions (the RW Wisconsin Supreme Court put the kabosh on Wisconsin, until Gov. Evers a week or two ago basically said to heck with that and imposed 25% occupancy, but whether that will be enforced or last, who knows).

I'm not all that impressed with Minnesota's state-wide restrictions (e.g. indoor dining and bars have been allowed with 50% occupancy since June 10), but the city of Minneapolis sometime in July imposed no sitting or standing at the bar, you must drink at tables (of limited occupancy and spaced apart), and that probably helped .... the rural areas of the state are the areas with the fastest Covid case growth.





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