As of June 2, South Dakota remains only one of nine states with an ever-increasing number of new cases of COVID-19 infection with a total incidence of the disease standing at 5,034, up 41 cases in the last day. South Dakota remains to see the “flattening of the curve” as has been seen in the remaining 37 states in the continental US. Let’s remember that South Dakota administration refused to issue mandatory social measures as did the also the majority of the rest of the nation. The relationship between these two facts is obvious and unavoidable.
CDC guidelines call for any state considering reopening (assuming it had been closed in the first place) to report a sustained decline in the number of new cases. New York is the best example of how the mandatory institution of social mitigation strategies can reduce numbers of daily new cases multiple fold.
We are two weeks away from the decision of the Rally committee whether to cancel the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally still planned for August. Original estimates of the numbers of out-of-state attendees were a high as 500,000. That is hard to imagine and certainly would not be anywhere near that mark even should the Rally continue as planned.
Nonetheless, the incursion of even 1/10th that number, 50,000, into a region the size of Deadwood, Lead, Sturgis and Spearfish would be overwhelming in terms of increase in spread of COVID-19. It is likely that the number of cases requiring intensive care would overwhelm ICU capacity almost immediately upon onset of the inevitable surge in local new cases.
The obvious decision, indeed, the only course of action, is to cancel the Rally. The economic impact on the affected community. Alternative sources of revenue should be explored; increase in local tax cannot bear the brunt of the lost revenue. Support from federal sources might be another source.
What sources can you think of?
Dr. John Andrews, “Doc John” of Lead, has a doctorate in virology, immunology, and microbiology who, after a career in developing prescription drugs, is now working on drug development to target COVID-19. He will be offering columns every two weeks about the progress of finding a vaccine for the virus.
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