This year’s annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Jim Urquhart for Insider.
A man in Minnesota died of COVID-19 on Wednesday after returning from a motorcycle rally that attracted more than 400,000 people to Sturgis, South Dakota, according to a representative from the Minnesota Department of Public Health.
It’s the first coronavirus fatality thought to have arisen from the bike rally, according to The Washington Post.
Residents pushed for the rally to be postponed because of spiking COVID-19 cases in the state, but event organizers pressed on.
South Dakota continues to see rising infection rates.
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A man in Minnesota died Wednesday from COVID-19 after participating in the annual South Dakota motorcycle rally last month that hosted hundreds of thousands of people from throughout the US.
The man is believed to be the first coronavirus fatality tied to the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the story.
The man, who has not been identified, was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions, the Minnesota Department of Public Health told Insider. Upon his return from the 10-day event, the man checked in to a hospital and remained in its intensive-care unit until he died.
More than 400,000 people visited South Dakota to participate in the biker festival, which ran August 7-16. Because of the shutdown of most large events nationwide, the biker event is likely to have seen the largest crowds of any event in the country in recent months, The Post reported.
Days before the rally, residents in Sturgis and local officials pushed for its cancellation, knowing that the number of confirmed cases in South Dakota was rising at the time. More than 60% of residents said in a survey that they hoped the event would be postponed, The New York Times reported.
At least 260 new cases across almost a dozen states have been linked to the Sturgis rally, The Post said.
Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, insisted in a Fox News interview that the event in her state would be safe to attend.
Noem cited other celebrations the state had hosted this year, like the controversial Fourth of July event that also drew large crowds, as a reason to attend Sturgis. President Donald Trump made an appearance at that Fourth of July celebration.
Noem’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Neither the Sturgis motorcycle rally nor the Fourth of July event mandated that people show up in face masks, and social distancing was not enforced.
Those who attended the event frequented packed bars and concerts, NBC News reported. Many people were not wearing masks, multiple news outlets reported.
COVID-19 has infected more than 6 million people in the US, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that figure, more than 184,000 people have died.
South Dakota continues to see rising infection rates. On Tuesday, there were at least 240 new cases reported in the state. On average, the state has seen about 300 new cases a day in the past week.
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