Hundreds of people packed into a bar in Sturgis, South Dakota on Saturday night to hear a ZZ Top tribute band play, as fear continue about the huge annual motorcycle rally contributing to the spread of coronavirus.
An estimated 250,000 people have flocked to the city of 7,000 people this weekend for the start of the 10-day festival.
A total of 12 crashes were reported on Saturday, according to data released on Sunday and published in the Argus Leader, with most suffering non-life-threatening serious injuries.
One 64-year-old male driver, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown from his Harley Davidson on Saturday and suffered life-threatening injuries.
Dr Jonathan Reiner, a Washington DC-based cardiologist, warned on Saturday on CNN that the event has the potential to be a ‘super spreader’ event, with the majority of people opting not to wear a face mask.
Coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 5 million on Saturday.
South Dakota has more than 9,000 cases confirmed, and 146 deaths.
The tribute band, ZZ3, took the stage at the Full Throttle Saloon and filled the room with Texas blues-rock.
Willie Nelson and Lynyrd Skynyrd were also scheduled to perform at the event, but canceled because of the pandemic.
The rally is expected to become one of the largest public gatherings since the pandemic began.
The attendance is expect to be roughly half the number of previous years, but local residents — and a few bikers — worry that the crowds could create perfect conditions for the spread of COVID-19.
Many who rode their bikes into Sturgis on Friday expressed defiance at the rules and restrictions that have marked life in many locales during the pandemic.
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