A Fed up Gov. Kristi Noem Goes off as Reports of Superspreader Outbreak From Sturgis Rally Go Down in Flames

AP Photo/Stephen Groves

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As my colleague Brad Slager reported two weeks ago, MSM reporters were chomping at the bit over the possibility they might get to declare the annual Sturgis rally in South Dakota a coronavirus “superspreader” event because mask-shaming and guilting people for allegedly being irresponsible during the pandemic has become the MSM’s gig (with left-wing protests, riots, and haircuts for high-profile Democrats being the exceptions to the rule, of course).

At the time of Brad’s report, 103 cases had been confirmed, which is a tiny percentage of the 366,000 people who were said to be in attendance.

Fast forward to now, and the mainstream media are eagerly reporting on a study they believe confirms their suspicions and which alleges the rally may have caused a widespread outbreak. Here are some of the headlines:

NBC News: Sturgis rally may have caused more than 250,000 new coronavirus cases, study finds
The Hill: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was ‘superspreading event’ that cost public health $12.2 billion: analysis
WaPo: ‘Worst case scenarios’ at Sturgis rally could link event to 266,000 coronavirus cases, study says

The big problem with the “study” the MSM is falling all over themselves to share on their websites and social media is that it’s garbage, according to some investigative digging done by Reason.com:

According to South Dakota health officials, 124 new cases in the state—including one fatal case—were directly linked to the rally. Overall, COVID-19 cases linked to the Sturgis rally were reported in 11 states as of September 2, to a tune of at least 260 new cases, according to The Washington Post.

To get to the astronomical number of cases allegedly spread because of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the researchers analyzed “anonymized cellphone data to track the smartphone pings from non-residents and movement of those before and after the event,” notes Newsweek. “The study then linked those who attended and traveled back to their home states, and compared changes in coronavirus trends after the rally’s conclusion.”

[…]

The paper, which has not been peer-reviewed, failed to account for simultaneous happenings—like schools in South Dakota reopening, among other things—that could have contributed to coronavirus spread in some of the studied areas.

[…]

The results of the IZA paper “do not align with what we know,” South Dakota epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said at a Tuesday news briefing.

Reason also noted that the IZA Institute of Labor Economics report guesstimated a $46,000 per person price for healthcare costs associated with the alleged superspreader outbreak, which is flawed and assumes that every single estimated and alleged Sturgis-related infection led to hospitalization.

A day prior to Reason’s analysis, a frustrated South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) ripped the “academic modeling” and researchers behind the IZA study, claiming the “faulty” report was “fiction” rather than science:

I don’t blame Noem one bit for being angry here. Many in the mainstream media have routinely ripped her unique handling of the Wuhan virus pandemic in South Dakota while at the same time showering NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) with praise and treating him like a magnificent hero even though his disastrous pandemic crisis management has been well-documented even by the Democrat-friendly New York Times and the liberal-leaning ProPublica group.

Noem has carefully balanced Constitutional liberty with public health concerns in her approach to managing the crisis in South Dakota, which is at odds with how the pro-lockdown media prefers governors to manage their states. So far, her handling of the crisis has proved to be successful, with a low case count and few deaths in comparison to other states.

Because of this, the MSM eagerly jumps at opportunities to dunk on Noem, no matter how tenuous. Unfortunately for them, this is yet another instance where her critics are wrong and she’s right.

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