Sioux Falls, SD (AP) —A large number of bikers roared towards the Black Hills, South Dakota this week, unleashing a COVID-19 infection among 700,000 people expected to participate in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. There is growing concern that it may be possible.
The rally, which begins on Friday, has become a paradise for those who are eager to escape coronavirus precautions. Last year, the rally barely slowed down, with about 460,000 people attending. As bikers flocked to bars, tattoo parlors, and rock shows, masks were mostly thrown away, offering lessons on how large gatherings could spread the virus wave across the country.
This year (the 81st repeat of the rally) is expected to grow even larger, attracting people from both inside and outside the United States, despite concerns about the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.
“It’s great to see a party of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Zoltan Valli of Larry Gore, who settled in the campsite on Tuesday after a trek from Hungary.
He wanted to return to a Harley-Davidson ride through the Black Hills after he went missing last year. Vali circumvented restrictions on US tourism in Europe by spending two weeks in Costa Rica before going to South Dakota. He wants one million people to appear. A typical attendance is about 500,000.
The city of Sturges, a sleepy community of less than 7,000 people, tried to quell things by canceling most of the city’s events and promotions last year, but a bunch of bikers appeared anyway.