One of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world was still held in Sturgis, South Dakota, during the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, which the media claimed led to more than 266,000 COVID-19 cases, or nearly one in five of every case reported in America at the time.
The number of cases came from a study by San Diego State University professors published in September, just a month following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
However, the Sturgis city manager, Daniel Ainslie, said the study and other models that predicted their hospitals would be overwhelmed were wrong.
“I think at the peak during the rally, and even after the rally, about five percent of the [hospital] beds were used for COVID,” Ainslie told Sharyl Attkisson on her show, Full Measure After Hours.
The media linked anywhere from one to about five fatalities to Sturgis, but Ainslie said none were scientifically traced.
“The hard data showed that there were about 260 cases that came from here,” Ainslie said. “Now, the reality was there were probably some additional cases beyond those 260 that were immediately traced here, but to try to state that there were a quarter million, that’s just ridiculous, and it was fanciful, and it was just pushing their narrative.”
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed the San Diego State University study.
“Results from this study should be interpreted cautiously,” analysts write, adding that “the associated data analyses used to obtain nationwide estimates were relatively weak.”
Last year, 460,000 bikers attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but that was fewer than usual. Although, Ainslie said, the media used footage from previous years to make it look busier than it actually was.