South Dakota gov defends Sturgis rally from critics calling it a COVID superspreader


Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has blamed the Democrats for most of the criticism about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally being a COVID-19 superspreader, insisting it was a “fantastic” event.”

Noem pushed back against critics who said the annual event that attracts thousands of bikers was irresponsible during the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

“I think it’s interesting that this side, this political party, the Democrats, who embrace getting abortion on demand, are accusing us of embracing death when we’re just allowing people to make personal choices and have personal responsibility over when they want to assemble, when they want to gather and spend time outdoors enjoying their way of life,” Noem told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle” Friday.

“So we’ve had a fantastic event here in South Dakota. The rally will end … Sunday, I guess … and they’re having a fantastic time. We’re glad everybody made the trip to South Dakota,” Noem added.

Motorcycle enthusiasts attend the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
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 Motorcycle enthusiasts gather for a group photo during the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 8, 2021
Noem said she’s allowing people to “make personal choices” in South Dakota.
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A sign sits outside of a temporary tattoo and piercing shop at the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
A sign with a profanity sits outside of a temporary tattoo and piercing shop at the rally.
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Noem attended the rally that began on Aug. 6 and will end Aug. 15.

President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, has said he was “very concerned” the rally would cause an upswing in COVID cases.

“I mean, to me, it’s understandable that people want to do the kinds of things they want to do. They want their freedom to do that. But there comes a time when you’re dealing with a public health crisis that could involve you, your family and everyone else that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do,” Fauci said.

Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota greets guests at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip campground after riding in the Legends Ride for charity on August 09, 2021
Noem called the Strugis event “fantastic,” while critics have warned it could lead to a rise in COVID cases.
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Motorcycle enthusiasts attend the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 08, 2021 in Sturgis, South Dakota
Dr. Anthony Fauci is chief among those who have expressed concerns over the safety of the event.
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Last year, 460,000 people showed up at the rally. There were $12.2 billion in health care costs related to the event, an analysis done by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics showed.

Noem calling the report “fiction” and there has been criticism of the analysis.

Lollapalooza, the music festival, recently took place in Chicago that had hundreds of thousands of attendees. The city’s top public health officials said there was “no evidence” the festival was a superspreader event.

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