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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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A motorcycle rider looks for parking outside the Full Throttle Saloon during the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota on August 9, 2020. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

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.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: The coronavirus and a $12 billion motorcycle rally

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Virginia governor has had long COVID for more than a year

Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam still has long COVID-19 symptoms more than a year after his initial infection, he said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor is one of millions of Americans suffering from symptoms of long COVID, which could have serious implications for employers and social programs if enough people can no longer work because of it, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

GE to mandate COVID vaccinations for U.S. workers

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

General Electric will require all of its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing President Biden's executive order for federal contractors, the company confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: General Electric is the latest in a slew of major companies to mandate the vaccine for workers, following in the footsteps of American Airlines, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, among others.

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