Robin Smith / Sep. 14, 2020

Sturgis and the Real Super-Spreaders

Did the annual motorcycle rally yield a massive spread of coronavirus?

The latest hysterical reporting of COVID-19 cases is tied to the 10-day annual motorcycle rally drawing 460,000 to Sturgis, South Dakota. According to the state’s Department of Health, it resulted in 124 positive cases within the Mount Rushmore State and 260 positive cases being traced to 11 other states. However, a German policy group devoted to labor economics — clearly the new health experts — developed a model and claimed the Sturgis gathering was a “super-spreading event” that resulted in $12.2 billion in healthcare costs due to its estimates of 263,708 rally-goers being infected with COVID-19.

The fixation to malign Republican Governor Kristi Noem is quite obvious. The Left must detest a healthy, intellectual conservative female who supports the policies that created a very successful 2019 economy — those of the Trump administration. The Left also hates that Governor Noem trusted the citizens of South Dakota to observe necessary practices and refused to approach the virus in the same way as more populous states.

The German model was based on cellphone data used to track event participants back to their home counties in other states, while attributing the increase of coronavirus cases in those counties to Sturgis — with no consideration to other events such as a return to school, a nursing home that may have had an outbreak, or any other explanation. Apparently, according to these labor economists and their published paradigm, COVID has no impact on those individuals deemed “peaceful protesters” or “exercising their free speech” by this infotainment industry.

It’s of interest that each positive symptomatic case assumed in the German model supposedly incurred a public health cost of $46,000 (including hospitalization), with no reference to actual events or current data. Further, there is no rationale for the public health cost of $11,000 per asymptomatic case assigned in the model by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, especially since most who are asymptomatic don’t even know that they’re ill.

Healthcare companies and hospital systems are now required by the Trump administration to receive an extra 20% reimbursement above standard Medicare rates for hospitalized COVID patients. In response to this September 1 requirement, Brian Gragnolati, president and CEO of Atlantic Health System, stated, “This country has a testing problem. The time it takes to get a test varies widely, and some of the tests have a false negative.” If a test can have false negatives, it logically follows that testing is inaccurate, yet the large health systems reportedly believe that they “are being unfairly maligned” by having to produce a positive COVID 19 test to receive the extra taxpayer-funded reimbursement and that a medical diagnosis should suffice.

First we were told to shut down our entire economy until we flatten the healthcare-resource curve, even building makeshift hospitals. Then experts said that more testing is better, but now hospital systems are saying there are irregular test results while a diagnosis of COVID should suffice. At the same time, we’re quarantining entire classes and sports teams without symptoms based on a possible exposure to someone who has tested positive, who may or may not be symptomatic and with no information on the viral load in that person.

Thus, the real super-spreader these days seems to be the infotainment industry that makes the news and benefits from the continuation of the pandemic. The erosion of trust is compounded by breathless politicians making demands to keep everything closed with selective permissions for “protesters” (a.k.a. looters and rioters). Not to mention that hospitals are making lots of money on the boosted reimbursement with the bill footed by taxpayers.

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