Sturgis Motorcycle Rally kicks off amid rising COVID-19 cases
South Dakota's annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally kicked off Friday, with at least 700,000 people expected to descend on the state during the 10-day rendezvous for bikers and motorcyclists, AP reports.
Flashback: Hundreds of rallygoers were infected last year at Sturgis, accounting for 19% of all new cases in the U.S. for a monthlong period, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.
The big picture: This year's event comes as COVID-19 cases in South Dakota rise and vaccinations remain low — about 46% of adults who live in the county that hosts Sturgis are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Cases in South Dakota increased by 68% during the week of July 25-31 compared to the prior seven-day period, per the state's Department of Health.
- On Friday, crowds of mostly maskless motorcyclists packed in at bars and concerts, per AP.
- Republican Gov. Kristi Noem threw her support behind the rally in a tweet earlier this week.