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CDC: 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally led to 'widespread transmission' of COVID-19

The August event brought together about 462,000 people from 61% of all U.S. counties.

STURGIS, S.D. — Editor's note: The above video is from Aug. 3, 2020.

A recently released study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers found that the August 2020 Sturgis rally resulted in "widespread transmission" of COVID-19.

The study, published on Thursday in Clinical Infectious Diseases, examined data and phone interviews from 39 state, county and city health departments. All those agencies had COVID-19 patients who had traveled to Meade County, South Dakota in August 2020 or directly attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The rally, which took place from Aug. 7-16 in 2020, brought together about 462,000 people from 61% of all U.S. counties. There was no mask mandate and South Dakota had few business restrictions at the time, according to the study.

Four hundred sixty-three primary cases were reported within two weeks of the rally, and another 186 were identified as secondary contacts, making for 649 total cases traced back to the event. While specimens were not available for "full genome sequencing" to identify the rally as a super-spreader, the CDC reported that it had "many characteristics of a superspreading event."

RELATED: MDH: 50 cases in MN associated with Sturgis, 1 death

In Meade County, where Sturgis is located, the 14-day testing volume rose 199% and the positivity rate went up from 5% to 8% during the period of Aug. 1 to Sept. 15.

One-third of Minnesota counties had cases traced back to Sturgis. Of the 463 primary cases, 3.7% were hospitalized and one person died. The man who died was from Minnesota, according to the state health department.

The estimate of cases is the equivalent of 140 per 100,000 attendees. The study pointed out that is likely an underestimate because anyone with no symptoms or a mild COVID case may not have gotten tested.

The University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) published a summary of the study on Thursday.

RELATED: Minnesota biker dies of COVID-19 after attending Sturgis Rally

RELATED: Annual Sturgis rally expecting 250K, stirring virus concerns

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