Here's How Far COVID Traveled After One Superspreader Event

New infections stemming from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally continue to rise as test results roll in.

Coronavirus numbers may be continuing to fall around the U.S., but certain areas are still seeing cases surge. And while experts say many can be linked to small gatherings, other larger events have still been found to be responsible for some spikes. This includes the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which is now considered a "superspreader" event (SSE) that is reported to have caused over 250 COVID cases spread across at least 12 states.

The annual event, which was held in South Dakota from Aug. 7 through Aug. 16 against the advice of health officials, attracted an estimated 460,000 attendee vehicles this year, CNN reports. Specific activities and venues at the rally—including a concert for '90s band Smash Mouth, largely attended by mask-less attendees, and a crowded saloon—have since been cited by health officials as significant coronavirus exposure events.

Anonymous data collected from cell phones following the event found that visitors to the rally then returned home to 61 percent of all counties in the U.S. Local health officials have been working ever since to coordinate testing and proper contact tracing as a response to the sheer magnitude of the superspreader event's reach.

"We're expecting that we're going to see many more cases associated with Sturgis," Kris Ehresmann, the director of the Minnesota Department of Health's infectious disease division, said during a press call on Aug. 21. "Thousands of people attended that event, and so it's very likely that we will see more transmission."

Unfortunately, that prediction is already coming true. Since the rally's conclusion, cases linked to the gathering have ranged from east to west, with some related infections as far-reaching as New England and the Northeast. Here are 12 states that can trace COVID cases back to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And for states struggling to contain coronavirus, These 4 States Should Lock Down Immediately, Harvard Researchers Say.


madison wisconsin

2 traced cases.

And for more areas with COVID outbreaks, check out these 10 College Towns Where COVID-19 Cases Are Surging.

New Jersey

new jersey skyline from the hudson river

3 traced cases.


Bellevue Washington. The snowy Alpine Lakes Wilderness mountain peaks rise behind the urban skyline.

3 traced cases.

And for a state in real trouble, This State Has Suddenly Become the Biggest Hotspot in the Country.


billings montana

7 traced cases.


Downtown Omaha skyline with the Gene Leahy Mall in the foreground

7 traced cases.

And for states where cases are spiking, These Midwestern States Are Seeing a New Surge in COVID-19 Cases.

New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.

8 traced cases.


detroit skyline

11 traced cases.


Panoramic aerial view of Jackson Hole homes and beautiful mountains on a summer morning, Wyoming.

13 traced cases.

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skyline of denver colorado

25 traced cases.

North Dakota

fargo north dakota

30 traced cases.

And for more on coronavirus in North Dakota, This State Is Seeing Its Worst COVID Spike Since the Pandemic Began.


downtown minneapolis minnesota

46 traced cases.

South Dakota

The main street of Deadwood, South Dakota with cars and shops in view.

105 traced cases.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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