South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem blasted a study that labeled the recent Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in her state a coronavirus "superspreader" event, noting the study had not been peer reviewed and modeling had been far off in predicting hospitalizations in the state.
"This report isn't science; it's fiction," Noem said, according to The Washington Times. "Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis."
According to the study, 19% of COVID-19 cases detected between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2 can be tied to the annual rally that drew nearly a half million attendees this summer.
According to multiple media reports, those in attendance did not wear masks or practice social distancing.
Researchers at the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies at San Diego State University took anonymized cell phone data to see where the attendees returned. They then looked at how COVID-19 cases rose in those areas compared to areas that did not send attendees.
They concluded 250,000 additional cases could be attributed to the rally and put the cost of public health at $12.2 billion.
One death has been attributed to the rally.
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