That’s how much the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally cost the public health due to the spread of COVID-19.
I’ve been asked to better explain the White Paper that shows the data and methodology behind the conclusion. My background is in GIS and I’ve worked with this kind of data and analysis before.It’s important to understand that these complex data sets are analyzed using GIS, which is viewed through geographic points on a map. It’s not a simple graph that can show point A – point B. I’ve included the link to the paper below, but this is the basis of how we can measure how COVID spreads from events:
DATA SET ONE: Firstly, using anonymized cell phone data from SafeGraph, Inc. and mapping:
(i) smartphone pings from non-residents,
(ii) foot traffic at restaurants and bars, retail establishments, entertainment venues, hotels, and campgrounds
(i) + (ii) each rose substantially in the census block groups hosting Sturgis rally events.
DATA SET TWO: Stay-at-home behavior among local residents, as measured by median hours spent at home, fell.
DATA SET THREE: Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a synthetic control approach, by September 2, a month following the Rally, COVID-19 cases increased by approximately 6 to 7 cases per 1,000 population in its home county of Meade.
DATA SET FOUR: Finally, estimates show that following the Sturgis event, counties where the most attendees came from also had the most massive increase in COVID-19 cases, 7 – 12.5% percent more than counties where non-event attendees live. Overall increase linked to 20% of August COVID cases in US.
DATA SET FIVE: Known healthcare costs associated with COVID19 cases.
Analysis of these data sets conclude that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion.
GIS White Paper: http://ftp.iza.org/dp13670.pdf