South Dakota governor calls Sturgis ‘superspreading’ study ‘completely untrue’

South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem has continued her attack on a recent study that argued the massive Sturgis motorcycle rally was a COVID-19 “superspreading” event linked to almost 20 percent of new cases nationwide last month — calling it “back of the napkin math” and “completely untrue.”

Some 300 attendees from 12 states have tested positive for coronavirus after attending the rally, including at least one who died.

And while it’s unclear how many people those infected attendees then spread the virus to, South Dakota saw a 35 percent post-rally jump in cases, and those other states saw increases of an average of 10.7 percent.

But San Diego State University’s Center for Health Economics & Policy studies and the IZA Institute of Labor Economics went further — using cellphone data to look at COVID-19 spikes in attendees’ home counties and concluding that the event may be linked to 266,796 cases across the country last month.

“They took a snapshot in time, and they did a lot of speculation, did some back-of-the-napkin math, and made up some numbers to publish them,” Noem told Fox News on Tuesday.

“This study wasn’t even done by a health care study, it was done by the Institute of Labor Economics,” she said.

“I know the media does not like what South Dakota has done, that they have deemed me the governor who made all the wrong decisions by letting my people have freedom, by using personal responsibility,” she said.

“But, listen, our people are happy. We’ve had big events. We have in South Dakota 124 cases that were tied to the Sturgis motorcycle rally,” she said.

“It’s less than 300 cases,” she said of the total number of attendees who have tested positive.

Hardly any of those attending the 10-day motorcycle rally wore masks. A single rally-goer who later tested positive had visited three Sturgis bars in one day, according to the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Argus Leader.

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