Gov. Noem says media lied about Sturgis Rally after report debunks sensational coverage

A new study published by a group of CDC researchers connects 649 COVID-19 cases and one death to the 460,000 people who attended the rally.

Gov. Kristi Noem (Screenshot/Fox and Friends).

Gov. Kristi Noem called the media’s coverage of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally “all political” and a total lie on “Fox & Friends” this week.

A new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases by a group of CDC researchers connected 649 COVID-19 cases and one death to the 460,000 people who attended the motorcycle rally last August. That figure includes secondary and tertiary cases, or cases among people who had close contact with someone who attended the rally. The majority, 463, were primary cases.

The authors of the study contacted 54 health departments across the country and received data from 39, which they list as one of the limitations of their research.

In comparison, the media reported in September that a possible 266,796 cases resulted from the 10-day event, an estimate that was based on a paper from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics.

“We did testing in that community for weeks afterwards, we reached out to every state that we had visitors from and did our own data collection and tried to hold some accountability out there,” Noem said.

The Republican governor said that liberals just want to attack free states like South Dakota, so they “continue to perpetuate” the narrative that the Sturgis rally was a “superspreader” event.

“The media lied about the event. For a year that labeled it as a superspreader. That was not true. We continuously pushed back [against the media], and I’m glad that some of those facts are coming to light today,” she said.

South Dakota currently has about 100 active COVID-19 cases. Noem said the state has the fastest-growing economy and lowest unemployment rate in the country, and kids in South Dakota have been attending in-person school all year.

Plus, “we’ve got incredible hospital capacity should we need it,” Noem said. “Our people have managed through this crisis in a way that I think is really a testimony to what Republican, conservative principles and values are.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz previously attacked Noem for allowing the event to proceed, calling it “absolutely unnecessary.”

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