The right-wing trolls who have been crying hypocrisy about recent large gatherings attended by prominent Democrats have been silent about an annual rally that draws hundreds of thousands of people to an event that was proven to be a super spreader of COVID-19 last year.
The 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota is expected to fetch upwards of 700,000 people over the course of 10 days and does not have any restrictions for attendance, including mandates requiring proof of vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests.
The rally was taking place as reports showed the exponentially more contagious COVID-19 delta variant feasts upon such assemblies. The numbers are alarming in South Dakota, where coronavirus cases have recently increased by nearly 70%, according to the Associated Press.
It’s the polar opposite of former President Barack Obama‘s legendary 60th birthday party this past weekend at his mansion in Martha’s Vineyard, where hundreds of people reportedly attended under the condition they provide evidence of being vaccinated or test negative for the virus before gaining entry.
Video from the party posted by singer Erykah Badu showed Obama — one of the most vocal proponents of the vaccine who’s repeatedly urged Americans to get vaccinated — dancing as none of the other people shown were wearing masks. The guest list was reportedly “scaled back” after criticism about Democrats being hypocrites for trumpeting COVID-19 guidelines and then appearing to flout them.
And now, video footage has been posted to social media showing Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a progressive Democrat, dancing at a wedding “with 100+ maskless people,” according to a tweet from Robby Starbuck, a movie producer and director who is also — yep, you guessed it — a right-wing troll.
The brief clip appeared to have been ripped from since-deleted video footage posted to the Instagram Stories of a Detroit-based wedding venue.
Missing from that video, of course, is precious context, like whether there were any COVID-19 restrictions enforced. It was also unclear exactly how many people were in attendance.
Without knowing those answers, the judgment is premature and disingenuous.
But logic never stopped a right-wing troll from trolling, as we saw with the criticism about Obama’s party.
However, we haven’t seen that same right-wing criticism of the Sturgis rally, something conservatives are trying to protect from judgment despite it being a proven superspreader of COVID-19 and public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci — the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden — warning the same is bound to happen again this year. A warning that was absent from reports ahead of Obama’s party.
Sturgis rally location matters
NPR spoke with multiple medical doctors who warned that the Sturgis rally presented a heightened threat of spreading COVID-19 simply because of where it was taking place. That is to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of attendees coming from outside of the state.
“The Sturgis Rally unfortunately increases the risk for a spread because we know the delta variant is causing rises in say, Arkansas, Missouri and several other states,” Dr. Shankar Kurra, the vice president of medical affairs at Monument Health, a health care system that serves western South Dakota, told NPR.
While there is a COVID-19 outbreak on Provincetown in Cape Cod, which is nearly 100 miles north of Martha’s Vineyard, the numbers in Massachusetts pale in comparison to those in states like Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas, the latter of which is rapidly running out of ICU beds because of the delta variant, Reuters reported.
Likewise, Crain’s Detroit Business reported that vaccinations in Michigan have been increasing over concerns about the delta variant.
There are no such reports out of Sturgis, or South Dakota.
Meanwhile, data provided by USAFacts, a nonpartisan, nonprofit data-driven think tank, found that fewer than half of South Dakota’s residents were fully vaccinated as of the start of the rally last weekend, and about 53% have gotten at least one dose.
In comparison, 64% percent of people living in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated and 73% have gotten at least one dose.
Michigan’s numbers mirror those of South Dakota. But, as mentioned, the vaccination rate has been increasing, unlike in South Dakota.
Public health experts have repeatedly said that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against COVID-19 infections and deaths.
Sturgis rally is a proven superspreader
CDC researchers determined that more than 600 cases of COVID-19 came from last year’s rally.
However, one group of researchers concluded that the number of COVID-19 cases from last year’s rally could be closer to 266,000. And that was before the existence of the much more contagious delta variant.
“Taken together, the results … provide strong evidence that the Sturgis Rally appears to have been a super-spreader event for COVID-19,” the researchers said in their report last year. “We find significant case increases within the state of South Dakota as well as increases extending to counties from which relatively more residents attended the event.”
Meanwhile, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has said she refuses to trust the science.
“This report isn’t science; it’s fiction. Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis,” Noem said in a press release. “Predictably, some in the media breathlessly report on this non-peer-reviewed model, built on incredibly faulty assumptions that do not reflect the actual facts and data here in South Dakota.”
It’s no coincidence that photos from Sturgis show that support for Donald Trump — who still refuses to endorse the COVID-19 vaccine and has repeatedly downplayed it as a “hoax” — is a common theme at the motorcycle rally.
This is America.
Prayers Up: Notable Black Folks Who Have Contracted COVID-19
1. Gil Bailey, radio pioneer1 of 73
2. Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist
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3. Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayorSource:Getty 3 of 73
4. Jaylen Brown, NBA playerSource:Getty 4 of 73
5. Herman Cain, former presidential candidateSource:Getty 5 of 73
6. Nick Cannon, entertainerSource:Getty 6 of 73
7. Ben Carson, former HUD SecretarySource:Getty 7 of 73
8. Cedric Ceballos, former NBA player
8 of 73
On my 10th day in ICU, COVID-19 is officially kicking my but, I am asking ALL family, friends , prayer warriors healers for your prayers and well wish for my recovery.— Cedric Ceballos (@cedceballos) September 7, 2021
If I have done and anything to you in the past , allow me to publicly apologize.
My fight is not done…..
9. Dave Chappelle, comedianSource:Getty 9 of 73
10. Rep. Bonnie Watson ColemanSource:Getty 10 of 73
11. Eugene Daniels, journalist
11 of 73
🧵🧵So today is my 11th day since testing positive for COVID-19. And let me tell you -- it was HELL. I am fully vaccinated and it knocked me on my ass. I had chills, a scary high fever, night sweats, trouble breathing, extreme exhaustion, and the terrible cough.— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) September 23, 2021
12. Jacob Desvarieux, guitaristSource:Getty 12 of 73
13. Manu Dibango, musicianSource:Getty 13 of 73
14. Dennis Dickson, NYPD employee14 of 73
15. Kevin Durant, NBA starSource:Getty 15 of 73
16. Larry Edgeworth
16 of 73
Prayers to the family of NBC’s Larry Edgeworth 💔🙏🏽 and my former colleagues at 30 Rock. He died after testing positive for #coronavirus. Larry would always offer to help me ...even after I moved to CBS. He just wanted to see another brother win. #IAmMyBrothersKeeper Rest 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/TyXbiHs30d— DeMarco Morgan (@DeMarcoReports) March 20, 2020
17. Kenneth "Babyface" EdmondsSource:Getty 17 of 73
18. Idris and Sabrina Dhowre Elba
18 of 73
This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing 👊🏾👊🏾 No panic. pic.twitter.com/Lg7HVMZglZ— Idris Elba (@idriselba) March 16, 2020
19. Patrick Ewing, basketball legendSource:Getty 19 of 73
20. Ronald Fenty, Rihanna's dadSource:Getty 20 of 73
21. Vivica A. Fox, actressSource:Getty 21 of 73
22. Cori "Coco" Gauff, tennis starSource:Getty 22 of 73
23. Jimmy Glenn, legendary boxing trainerSource:Getty 23 of 73
24. Rudy Gobert
24 of 73
25. Louis Gossett Jr., actor, philanthropistSource:Getty 25 of 73
26. Lee Green, former college hoops star
26 of 73
It is with much sadness to inform all in my SJU family that we lost Lee Green to Covid-19 today. A Parade All-American who played 3 years at #SJUBB Lee was our warrior on those teams. A true lock em up defender that relished shutting down the best opponents. RIP Lee🙏🏻 #gone2soon pic.twitter.com/X4TIPbVvoU— Ron Linfonte (@SJU5) March 24, 2020
27. Charles Gregory, Tyler Perry's makeup artrist
27 of 73
28. Lewis Hamilton, Formula One driverSource:Getty 28 of 73
29. Samuel Hargress Jr., owner of legendary Harlem nightclub
29 of 73
Thank You for your friendship Sam! 💔#RIP💔 Harlem's Paris Blues Jazz Club has been a celebrated local music joint since 1969, playing live jazz and blues nightly. It's owner and manager, Mr. Samuel Hargress Jr., has been in the club nearly every day for the past 51 years. 💫🔥💫 pic.twitter.com/oSM9Cbzzdb— B Michael (@bmichaelAmerica) April 15, 2020
30. Conan Harris, Rep. Ayanna Pressley's husbandSource:Getty 30 of 73
31. Antoine Hodge, opera singerSource:GoFundMe 31 of 73
32. Mike Huckaby, techno music pioneer and DJ
32 of 73
R.I.P Mike Huckaby. You will forever continue to change so many peoples lives with your music, technique and mentoring. These clips of Huck are from ‘Detroit The Blueprint Of Techno’ 💔 pic.twitter.com/8t8c83Uy2K— Dark Entries Records (@darkentriesrecs) April 25, 2020
33. Callum Hudson-OdoiSource:Getty 33 of 73
34. DL Hughley, comedian34 of 73
35. Ahmed Ismail Hussein, Somali singer
35 of 73
BREAKING: One of Somalia’s greatest artists has died in London after contracting Corona Virus. Ahmed Ismail Hussein “Hudeydi” known as the “King of Oud” has been in hospital for four days. He was 92. pic.twitter.com/iCii8vYVVv— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) April 8, 2020
36. Jesse and Jacqueline JacksonSource:Getty 36 of 73
37. Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, former White House butler
37 of 73
Tonight on @fox5dc at 10p -— Shawn Yancy (@ShawnYancyTV) May 20, 2020
He served at the pleasure of 11 U.S. Presidents... during his 55 years at the White House.
Last weekend, he passed from COVID-19.
My exclusive interview with the granddaughter of White House butler, Wilson Jerman is next! pic.twitter.com/SBiXbQLiud
38. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, actor
38 of 73
39. Paul Johnson, house music DJSource:Getty 39 of 73
40. Jim Jones, rapperSource:Getty 40 of 73
41. Brad "Scarface" JordanSource:Getty 41 of 73
42. DeAndre Jordan, NBA starSource:Getty 42 of 73
43. Tim Lester, NFL starSource:Getty 43 of 73
44. James Mahoney, pulmonologist
44 of 73
Dr. James Mahoney at University Hospital of Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/SXBxNlzApr— Lieutenant Kijé (@BrianLemaire2) May 19, 2020
45. Ellis Marsalis Jr., musicianSource:Getty 45 of 73
46. DeRay McKesson, activistSource:Getty 46 of 73
47. Von Miller, NFL starSource:Getty 47 of 73
48. Nicki MinajSource:Getty 48 of 73
49. Donovan Mitchell49 of 73
50. Wisconsin Rep. Rep. Gwen MooreSource:Getty 50 of 73
51. Lloyd Porter, small business owner in Brooklyn
51 of 73
Devastated to hear Lloyd Porter has pass away from covid19. Lloyd was a pillar in Brooklyn. His coffee shop Breadstuy is where I met some of my closest friends. He sometimes hired people with records that couldn't easily find work. He believed in community. Rest well Brother— Blitz Bazawule (@BlitzAmbassador) May 7, 2020
52. Charley Pride, country music legendSource:Getty 52 of 73
53. Biden Adviser, Rep. Cedric RichmondSource:Getty 53 of 73
54. Arnie Robinson Jr., Olympian
54 of 73
Arnie Robinson Jr., who won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, died on Dec. 2 at his home in San Diego. He was 72. https://t.co/lYnpSbWkzO— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) December 16, 2020
55. Chris Rock, actor and comedianSource:Getty 55 of 73
56. Wallace RoneySource:Getty 56 of 73
57. Marcus Smart57 of 73
58. Shaka Smart, University Of Texas Men's Basketball CoachSource:Getty 58 of 73
59. Troy Sneed, gospel singerSource:Getty 59 of 73
60. Sage SteeleSource:Getty 60 of 73
61. Oliver "DJ Black N Mild" Stokes Jr.
61 of 73
New Orleans bounce DJ and radio personality Black N Mild has died after testing positive for coronavirus. For the past 25 years, he also deejayed at countless clubs, parties and other private events across the southeast. pic.twitter.com/2e6mnKhiXQ— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) March 21, 2020