Death projections for the state are 250 by December 1 as restrictions ease. That could be reduce to 180 if masks were made mandatory.
However, South Dakota is among several states that has not locked down nor made masks mandatory.
Those projections for deaths don’t take into account the Sturgis rally.
Nor do they show how the virus can be spread in other states and countries as rally goers head home, taking the infection with them.
As this becomes evident, the stigma that motorcyclists have spread the virus will taint riders everywhere.
Vote against rally
Of the 7000 Sturgis citizens, 63% voted not to hold the rally, but a gift wholesaler in nearby Rapid City threatened to sue the council.
Sturgis City Council member Terry Keszler says they should have postponed or cancelled the rally in March.
However, Doreen Allison Creed, Meade County commissioner who represents Sturgis, says the county lacked the authority to shut down the rally because much of it takes place on state-licensed campgrounds.
“We are either going to be a great success story or failure,” she says.
“I truly believe it could not have been stopped.”
The state’s Department of Tourism has estimated that the annual festival generates about $800 million in revenue.
Neighbouring Minnesota Department of Health commissioner Jan Malcolm called the decision to go ahead with the event “disappointing”.
Malcolm and other state public health leaders have warned that the rally could be a potential petri dish for spreading the virus here and across the nation.
Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the rally could cause a major virus spread.
“Come mid-August to late August, early September, Sturgis will have one hell of an imprint on this country,” he says.