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Gov. Noem says Sturgis Rally report is ‘fiction’

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces on Monday, June 22, 2020, that city and county governments will be able to access federal coronavirus relief funds as she speaks at the Sioux Falls city hall in Sioux Falls, S.D.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces on Monday, June 22, 2020, that city and county governments will be able to access federal coronavirus relief funds as she speaks at the Sioux Falls city hall in Sioux Falls, S.D.((AP Photo/Stephen Groves))
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 3:01 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A white paper released by four economic professors with the IZA Institue of Labor Economics that said the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was a superspreader event, leading to a national spike in COVID-19 cases that cost billions in healthcare dollars, is being disputed in South Dakota.

Gov. Kristi Noem echos what health officials said in their Tuesday morning press meeting the report should be dismissed.

“This report isn’t science; it’s fiction. Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis,” said Gov. Noem in a press release Tuesday."Predictably, some in the media breathlessly report on this nonpeer-reviewed model, built on incredibly faulty assumptions that do not reflect the actual facts and data here in South Dakota."

The report gathered its results by using cellphone data from SafeGraph, Inc. It shoed “smartphone pings from nonresidents” and “foot traffic at restaurants and bars, retail establishments and entertainment venues, hotels and campgrounds each rose substantially” through Aug. 7 through 16. It says that the Rally is linked to an estimated 267,000 COVID-19 cases nationwide and says the overall health costs from the Rally are $12.2 billion.

“At one point, academic modeling also told us that South Dakota would have 10,000 COVID patients in the hospital at our peak. Today, we have less than 70. I look forward to good journalists, credible academics, and honest citizens repudiating this nonsense," Gov. Noem said.

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