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World ‘Screw COVID’: 250,000 Bikers to Defy Common Sense for Nine Days at Sturgis Rally

13:11  07 august  2020
13:11  07 august  2020 Source:   thedailybeast.com

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Despite COVID -19 concerns, the biggest biker event in South Dakota is still set to proceed with slight modifications, likely attracting hundreds of We need a national shutdown because folks can’t seem to act right. South Dakota braces for 250 , 000 at Sturgis motorcycle rally despite coronavirus https

More than 250 , 000 people are expected to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota, even as the state sees a spike in COVID -19 cases. Bikers ride down Main Street on the first day of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis , South Dakota on Aug.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

Friday is the official start of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where 250,000 people are expected to gather in the South Dakota town of that name for nine days of defying proven precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

“Nobody is social distancing and none of them are wearing masks,” local psychologist Michael Fellner told The Daily Beast. “None.”

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Sturgis in South Dakota is still on this week and now Twin Cities bikers are trying to decide whether or not they should ride. I'm Allen Gals in Brooklyn Park and we'll explain. PagesMediaTV & MoviesTV ChannelKSTP-TVVideosAround 250 , 000 bikers will descend on Sturgis , South Dakota for

The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota has always been one of the most important events for But this year, what’s expected to be a crowd of 250 , 000 -plus (a typical year sees north of 400 The expectation of hearty crowds have the 7, 000 residents of Sturgis fearful of the health risk

Fellner is originally from Brooklyn in New York City, which was once the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter but has just reported three straight days without a single death from the virus. The transformation is almost certainly the result of the same precautions the bikers in Sturgis are ignoring.

The Sturgis Rally’s own official website has a “COVID tracker” tab that links to the South Dakota Health Department site, where offerings include a risk assessment for public gatherings.

“Highest risk: Large, in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from multiple areas,” it advises.

As the rally’s Facebook page attests, the bikers come from across the country.

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More than 250 , 000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota, seeking the freedom of cruising the Many worried that the rally would cause an unmanageable outbreak of COVID -19. “This is a huge, foolish mistake to make to host the rally this year,” Sturgis resident Lynelle Chapman

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“Leaving from NH today. See ya soon!” posted Howard Saborn of New Hampshire.

“Coming for the 1st time on Saturday from Virginia,” Vickie Farmer announced.

“On our way now. Stopped in Missouri to sleep. Be there Thursday night,” Jesse Robison of Georgia posted.

“Be there Friday from San Angelo Tx.,” David Buckner said.

“On my way I ain’t scared of the media flue or as we call it round here election flue see ya soon sd,” J.F. Watson of Ohio said.

“Just call it a big protest !! And it be A-Ok!!” J. Toothman, also of Ohio, suggested.

Rod Florquest of Wyoming was among the thousands who had arrived early.

“You really have to look to see someone wearing a mask,” he reported, as though this was a good thing.

And, having come from seemingly everywhere with whatever virus they might happen to carry, they will all mingle and return home with any virus they happen to pick up. Some will have purchased one of the souvenir T-shirts that retired school counselor Linda Chaplin of Sturgis saw a street vendor selling. The front reads:

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The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid -19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. But we know how to rally , and we know how to look after one another. And right now, what could be more “Yesterday we did 500 tests, the day before 1, 000 tests. So there is a large number of tests being done.

COVID -19, influenza deaths, and deaths involving pneumonia, influenza, or COVID -19; (a) by week ending date and (b) by specific jurisdictions. States report at different rates. Currently, 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, but there is significant variation between states.

“Screw COVID-19

I came to Sturgis”

a man riding on the back of a motorcycle: David McNew/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast David McNew/Getty

That is far from what the 70-year-old Chaplin imagined when she initially learned of the pandemic.

“One of my first thoughts was, ‘Oh, we won’t have the rally this year,’” she told The Daily Beast.

She allows that she is “not a rally person,” having in the past hopped on a bicycle to negotiate the annual gridlock of Harleys. But she understands the economic importance of the event to the town, having in past years picked up some extra money sewing patches on jackets. She nonetheless did not expect her town to prize livelihoods over lives.

“I was rather aghast that our little town was still planning to go ahead with the rally,” she said.

Chaplin was among the citizens who addressed Mayor Mark Carstensen and the City Council at a June 10 hearing about the rally. Chaplin was not speaking to strangers. She used to change the mayor’s diapers when he was a toddler and childhood friend of her daughter.

“It is my deepest conviction that this is a huge, foolish mistake to make to host the rally this year," Chaplin said at the hearing. “The government of Sturgis needs to care most for its citizens.”

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She offered a solution to the rally problem: “Have a bigger one next year.”

Other speakers included ICU nurse Linda Janovy, who said the regional medical facilities are not equipped to handle an outbreak.

“We have freedom, but we also have responsibility,” she said. “You are not going to make everybody happy. Your responsibility is to keep the public safe, as safe as you can.”

Then came Lynn Burke, a nurse at the local VA facility.

“What’s the price of human life?” she asked. “I hear a lot of people saying we’re going to lose money. What about the lives we’re going to lose?”

But several local business people spoke of how dependent they are on the revenue generated by the rally. And there were also folks such as a lifelong Sturgis resident named Bob Davis.

“Freedom, God, and Donald Trump,” he said.

a group of people on a city street: David McNew/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast David McNew/Getty

The City Council had never considered whether or not to approve the rally because that had never been a question. There had only been the formality of approving the necessary road closures. The council did so again on June 15 even though a survey showed that 60 percent of Sturgis residents favored canceling this year's rally.

Sturgis officials sought to calm rally opponents by saying the city was seeking to reduce the turnout by curtailing the usual advertising. The official Sturgis website nonetheless listed various exciting events for anyone tempted to attend. There was this:

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“JOIN US AUGUST 10TH, 2020 FOR THE 18TH ANNUAL MAYOR’S RIDE!! The City of Sturgis is excited to be hosting the 18th Annual Sturgis Mayor’s Ride during the 80th Annual City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally! This ride has been a special part of the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; not only for the amazing beauty of the Black Hills but that it brings people together from all over the word [world].”

The ultimate justification offered by the mayor and other city officials was that the hordes of bikers were going to come anyway. They noted that Rod Woodruff, owner of the Buffalo Chip campground and concert venue, had announced his intention to be open for a 39th consecutive rally. The campground’s Facebook page had this posting with a message from a Hollywood actor:

“Hey there, Tom Berenger here. Have you heard? Well, my friend Rod Woodruff at the Buffalo Chip let me know that Sturgis 2020, the 80th anniversary, is ON! I don’t know about you, but I’m packin’ her up here. I hope to see ya out there. God bless America. And God bless the Buffalo Chip.”

The Buffalo Chip is the area’s biggest, a biker mecca. It is also just outside the city limits and an incorporated town unto itself. Sturgis could do nothing to regulate it.

“We’re just celebrating good old American freedom,” Woodruff told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.

He said he had unfolded the world’s largest American flag on July 3, so Trump could see it while flying over on the way to the event at nearby Mount Rushmore.

Even though the rally did not officially begin until Friday, bikes had started to arrive mid-week.

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“What a release to hear the sound of Harley-Davidson engines in the campground again,” Woodruff said. “Just marvelous.”

He figured the turnout would at least equal—maybe exceed—last year’s. He has had several bands cancel on him in recent weeks as a result of COVID-19 concerns, but others had signed on. And he had additional events such as the Lingerie Fighting Championship.

The producer of the all-woman lingerie event, Sean Donnelly, assured The Daily Beast that the participants had been offered a chance to opt out of the rally. He added that they would be staying at a hotel 30 miles away in Rapid City and would be bused in two hours before the bouts, returning directly to the hotel afterwards. They would have custom-designed masks.

“Not a bad look,” Donnelly said. “Of course, they won’t be fighting in them.”

Few of the quarter-million people expected to attend the rally will likely be doing anything in masks. A shopkeeper friend of Chaplin’s made an attempt at humor on Facebook.

“Welcome rally goers, we’re dying to serve you,” the shopkeeper posted.

“Not funny,” Chaplin replied.

a motorcycle parked in a parking lot: The 2003 Sturgis rally. Scott Olson/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast The 2003 Sturgis rally. Scott Olson/Getty

Chaplin and her husband usually leave town during the rally and decided to depart two days early this year. She will return to a county where there have been only 82 COVID-19 cases, but there is no telling what the rally will leave behind besides piles of garbage by which the city estimates the number of attendees. She has a son and a daughter who teach in the Sturgis schools and grandchildren who attend them.

To add to her worries, Gov. Kristi Noem has declared that all South Dakota families should send their kids back to school without masks.

“We believe that when it comes to children, masks have the potential to do more harm than good,” Noem wrote in a fundraising email.

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During an appearance on The Ingraham Angle on Fox News, Noem voiced support for the rally.

“We know we could have these events, get people information, let them protect their health, but still enjoy their way of life and enjoy events like the Sturgis motorcycle rally,” she said.

Michael Fellner and his wife, Carol, will wait out the rally in self-quarantine on their eight acres just outside of town.

“I think this year we are on the road to making a super-spreading event,” she said. “Not just for your state, not just for your region, but for your country. That’s my statement.”

Michael said of the rally, “The sad thing is that you find common sense is not as common as people believe.”

He suggested what deprived Sturgis of that sense.

“I hate to put it that way, but it’s the smell of money.”

Michael noted that one of his daughters and her husband are Broadway actors. The daughter had already taken a break to concentrate on being a mom. The son-in-law lost a starring role when Broadway shut down.

“He’s now selling insurance,” Michael said.

The consolation is that the virus has been brought under control in New York, as it likely could be everywhere if everyone followed the city’s example.

But COVID can just as easily spike anywhere that example is ignored. And the virus might be spreading across the country on motorcycles by the end of next week.

“This is going to be just the start of it,” Linda Chaplin said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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‘I Have 12 Masks’: Teacher Stuck Between Rogue Guv and Biker Shitshow .
R.I.P. Ms. Hansen. 1997-2020. Masks Save Lives. The words appeared on a tombstone-shaped sign 23-year-old rookie special education teacher Lizzie Hansen carried at a demonstration last month, urging her South Dakota school board to mandate masks when the school year begins. The board did go from terming masks “recommended” to deeming them “expected.” But it stopped short of what all the authoritative science says it should do. “It’s not aMs. Hansen.

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