Fauci tells Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attendees health crisis 'supersedes' need to do 'what you want to'
Gov. Noem: Media lied about Sturgis Rally being COVID ‘super spreader’
Gov. Kristi Noem argues backlash against the motorcycle event in South Dakota was ‘all politics’ from the left
White House medical advisor and epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci shared his concerns about South Dakota’s upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” subtly rebuking attendees as host Chuck Todd appeared to suggest it could be another coronavirus “super spreader” event.
Cases have begun to rapidly rise across the U.S. in the spread of the delta variant, which has also made way for a small variant known as “delta plus” variant that has a spike protein mutation that may cause it to have a spike in transmissions. Vaccinated individuals remain protected from serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 variants, studies have shown.
Fauci and Todd wondered whether it was wise for South Dakota motorcyclists to assemble considering the context.
“We have Sturgis, South Dakota, there’s a gathering right now of some 700,000 people,” Todd said.
It was a smaller turnout last year, Todd noted, saying it still led to “a massive outbreak in the Dakotas.” He asked his guest what he expects the rally to do to that part of the country this year.
“I’m very concerned, Chuck, that we’re going to see another surge related to that rally,” Fauci said.
While Fauci said it was “understandable” that people “want to do the kind of things they want to do,” he suggested that rally goers think of the greater good that could come from staying home.
“There comes a time when you’re dealing with a public health crisis, that could involve you, your family, and everyone else that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do,” Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged.
“You’re going to get to do that in the future, but let’s get this pandemic under control before we start acting like nothing is going on,” Fauci continued. “I mean, something bad is going on.”
Social media users were none too happy with Fauci’s advice.
“Yeah, no,” tweeted RedState’s Becca Lower. “We should not have unelected bureaucrats telling us what our rights are, period!”
Several other critics noted that while the media seemed preoccupied with Sturgis, they have largely ignored Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival and President Obama’s birthday celebration over the weekend, where he was seen dancing maskless in a crowded tent. The images surfaced after his office claimed that the party would be “scaled back” for close friends and family following backlash last week.
This marks the second year in a row that the Sturgis rally was targeted by the media as a “super spreader” event. Researchers from San Diego State University’s Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies concluded that last summer’s rally accounted for about 266,000 coronavirus cases.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, R, pushed back on the statistic in a scathing statement.
“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. “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.”
“At one point, academic modeling also told us that South Dakota would have 10,000 COVID patients in the hospital at our peak,” she continued. “Today, we have less than 70. I look forward to good journalists, credible academics, and honest citizens repudiating this nonsense.”
“The media lied about the event for a year,” Noem told “Fox & Friends” in May, revisiting the media narrative. “They’ve labeled it as a super-spreader. That was not true. We continuously pushed back. And I’m glad that some of those facts are coming to light. It’s all political. We did testing in that community for weeks afterwards.”
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