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250,000 COVID-19 infections from Sturgis? Numbers ‘Composed’, says SD governor

The South Dakota governor on Wednesday debated economists say a motorcycle rally in Sturgis last month could have caused up to 250,000 coronavirus infections, saying “they only make up a few numbers and publish them. “

Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, questioned the math, though her state reported a 126 percent increase in new cases of coronavirus (over 3,700) in the last two weeks and a death toll of 10- day rally that attracted more than 400,000 people and revived the coronavirus crisis in neighboring states.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks at Sioux Falls on June 22, 2020.Stephen Groves / AP file


7;s not really true,” Noem said of the economists’ study in an interview with FOX News. “What they did was they took a snapshot at the time and they made a lot of speculation, made some back of the math napkin and made some numbers and published them. This study is not even though a health care study was done, the Institute of Labor Economics did it and it is completely untrue. “

The study, by four American economists and published by the German-based IZA Institute of Labor Economics, suggests that tight conditions combined with “minimal wearing of masks and social distance of attendees” created of a “widespread event” that could result in 266,796 COVID-19 infections.

Noem stressed that only 124 new cases in South Dakota were linked to the Sturgis bash, which ran from August 7 to August 16.

“You know, other states are tracking cases, I think we have 11 other cases being tracked, you know, people who traveled to Sturgis motorcycle rally rally but less than 300 cases , “said Noem.

The quartet reached their conclusions by collecting cellphone data to track foot traffic in bars, restaurants and other places in Sturgis and “extrapolated a possible number of infections based on increased rates of infection following the event, “NBC News reported on Tuesday.

“We stand by the entirety of our coronavirus research,” Dhaval Dave, an economics professor at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, told NBC News. “We used publicly available data used by other researchers, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). These are not forecasting exercises.”

The findings of IZA economists tell what public health experts told NBC News earlier, that the doubling of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota and the increase in new cases reported in the near future North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska also, are a good indication that the cases could be directly tied to the Sturgis rally.

The only casualty in Sturgis today, a Minnesota man in his 60s with underlying conditions, was hospitalized after returning from a rally, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed.

Noem was an ally of President Donald Trump and defended the president’s highly criticized response to the pandemic. He also hosted the Trump Independence Day celebration on Mount Rushmore on July 3, when hundreds of attendees made little attempt at social distance or wearing masks.

One of the smallest states in the country, South Dakota reported 173 deaths out of 15,403 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the latest NBC News figures.

But many of those cases were reported after Noem, at Trump’s urging, to reopen his state because the pandemic was just beginning to fight on the plains.

Trump, who has been criticized for lowering the risks of the virus and for responding too slowly to the crisis, has often slapped scientists and public health experts who questioned his misrepresentation of the progress of the pandemic and strategy. of his administration.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s leading infectious disease experts, survived a White House attempt to discredit him in July.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the US rose to 190,880 from 6,357,241 confirmed cases, both leading in the world.

The U.S. also accounts for nearly a quarter of more than 27.6 million cases and nearly a fifth of nearly 900,000 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.

In other coronavirus news:

  • More than 20 million jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic and conventional wisdom suggests that lucky Americans still working can hang on to their jobs. But The Associated Press reported Wednesday that nearly 3.4 million people quit their jobs in July, up from 2.8 million in June. “The above rise is unusual because people are generally reluctant to leave work when the job market is weak,” the AP reported. “But some people appear to stay at home to prevent infections and others are caring for children who cannot return to school due to the pandemic.” While Trump has repeatedly claimed that the economy is recovering at a rapid rate, there were 20 percent fewer job postings in August than in the same month last year. And in hard-hit hospitality and tourism industries, job postings dropped 47 percent, the AP reported.

  • Trick-or-treated banned in Los Angeles this Halloween, NBC Los Angeles reported. Mentioning the coronavirus, the provincial Department of Health also placed the kibosh at Halloween parties and carnivals and announced that haunted houses will also not be limited this year to men and ghouls. “Because some of the traditional ways in which this holiday is celebrated (do not allow you to minimize contact with non-household members, it is important to plan ahead and identify safer alternatives,”) the guide was posted on the agency’s website.

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