The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began on Friday, just as the infectious Delta variant is producing a surge in cases nationwide.

By Mark Walker

Although most large events shut down last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally forged ahead, panicking health experts as nearly a half-million motorcycle enthusiasts descended on the Black Hills of South Dakota.

This year’s rally, which began on Friday, is expected to draw an even larger crowd, just as the infectious Delta variant is producing more new virus cases nationwide than this time last year.

What path the virus will take through Sturgis remains to be seen.

Transmission is more difficult outdoors, vaccines greatly reduce the risk of serious illness, and South Dakota has the fewest new virus cases per capita in the United States. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers Delta as contagious as chickenpox, and people are traveling from across the country — several Southern states are in their worst outbreaks of the pandemic — to a region with a relatively low vaccination rate.

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photo credit Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2021 Facebook Account

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