According to an economic study focused on public health costs of “superseding” events, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held in South Dakota last month, could cause 250,000 new coronovirus cases.
The 10-day rally attracted more than 400,000 people. According to a new study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, prolonged interactions among individuals at high frequency, with “minimal mask wear and social disturbances by attendees”, raised concerns that Sturgis would increase the transmission of coronovirus.
The nonprofit company’s findings have not been confirmed by epidemiologists or public health officials.
The study of the IZA saw the cost as a “superseding event” – a single gathering in which new infections flow – would take over public health. The researchers used cell phone data to show increased foot traffic to bars, restaurants and other locations in the Sturgis area and extrapolated a possible infection count based on increased infection rates after the incident.
According to studies, if all cases are considered non-fatal, the public health costs of the “conservative” rally would be more than $ 12.2 billion. This number is based on a previous study estimated that each COVID-19 case averaged $ 46,000.
“It is enough that each of the estimated 462,182 participants in the rally did not participate in the $ 26,553.64,” the IZA study found.
Researchers agree that this is not an entirely correct estimate of costs, but provides a sense of “ballpark” costs on public health and “how valuable restrictions can be on mass celebrations in this context”.
It can be difficult to get an accurate estimate of how many cases spread from a single event, because the contact tracing process depends on the cooperation of individuals and many do not get coronoviruses tested if no symptoms are experienced. However, in the last two weeks at least eight states have added cases to the rally.
A Minnesota man in his 60s and with underlying circumstances who attended the rally died as a result of COVID-19 on Wednesday. He was hospitalized and returned from Sturgis in the intensive care unit, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed last week.
South Dakota saw a 126% increase in new cases in the two weeks following the incident, Reuters reported on Sunday. Neighboring states such as North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska have also seen an increase in new cases.
An epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Drs. Sadia Khan told NBC News last week that the rally appeared as a “superspreader event”, but there are other factors.
Khan said, “Two things are clearly visible.” “Motorcycle rally in Sturgis, as well as students returning to colleges and universities. Seems to support this time.
Following images and videos at this year’s rally, very few attendees were shown wearing masks or observing social distance. The lead singer for the band Smash Mouth came under fire to set fire under the pandemic stage.