Minnesota biker becomes first COVID-19 fatality linked to Sturgis rally
Motorcyclists, some coming from hundreds of miles away, fill the streets of Sturgis, South Dakota, as part of a huge cycle rally GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

A Minnesota biker became the first COVID-19 fatality linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.


The motorcycle enthusiast, who was in his 60s and had underlying conditions, had been hospitalized in intensive care for several weeks after attending the 10-day event in South Dakota, reported the Washington Post.

At least 260 cases in 11 states have been directly linked to the event, according to the newspaper's survey of health departments, but epidemiologists believe that is a significant undercount because many attendees resist testing and contact tracing.

The Midwest and the Dakotas have seen a spike in coronavirus cases since the rally ended a little over two weeks ago, as infections declined or flattened in other parts of the country.

Public health experts expressed concern about the rally before it began, and photos from the event showed attendees packing into bars, restaurants and tattoo shops, many of them without masks.

Anonymized cell phone data analyzed by the firm Camber Systems found that 61 percent of all U.S. counties had been visited by one of the hundreds of thousands of bikers who had gone to the Sturgis rally.