South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, claimed during an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday that the media “lied” during its coverage of last summer’s Sturgis motorcycle rally by calling it a “super-spreader” event.
“The media lied about the event for a year,” Noem argued. “They've labeled it as a super-spreader. That was not true. We continuously pushed back. And I'm glad that some of those facts are coming to light. It’s all political. We did testing in that community for weeks afterwards.”
She added, “We reached out to every state that we had visitors from and did our own data collection and tried to hold some accountability out there. But you know that once these liberal media outlets, these Democrats, want to attack policies of a state like us that's free, that they'll just continue to perpetuate that narrative.”
The governor went on to say, “I'm thankful that they're continuing to get more and more of the real facts of what happened at the Sturgis motorcycle rally before people come again this year. We're looking forward to an even bigger crowd right now.”
According to Noem, “It's been pretty consistent over the last year that I've been getting beat up in the national media. But our kids have been in school all year. They're doing well. We have the fastest growing economy in the country, the lowest unemployment rate, active cases are down and we've got incredible hospital capacity should we need it.”
She later said, “So our people have managed through this crisis in a way that I think is really a testimony to what Republican conservative principles and values are, and how they really do take care of people and create an opportunity for people to still be successful.”
A recent study of the event released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “The 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle rally resulted in widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” also known as COVID-19, “across the United States. At least 649 COVID-19 cases were identified, including secondary and tertiary spread to close contacts. To limit transmission, persons attending events should wear masks and practice physical distancing. Persons with a known exposure should quarantine and obtain COVID-19 testing.”
About 462,000 people attended the rally, which took place from August 7-16, 2020, and attracted people from 61% of all the counties in the United States during a time in which there was no mask mandate in the state of South Dakota.
Noem said in response to the report, "We've all recognized that recently with the CDC they change their opinion and their guidance based on political pressure at different times," according to the Argus Leader.
A spokesperson for the South Dakota Department of Health said in a statement that the state does not endorse the CDC’s report.
"Our participation in the study does not mean complete agreement with the report finding(s), to include case counts," the statement read. "Given the numerous study participants, we cannot speak for their data collection or reporting methodology.”
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