Sturgis Motorcycle Rally sure was a great place to catch a super infectious disease

Ben Shapiro is leading the charge on this one, taking the position that the numbers are lies because otherwise every BLM protest would be 40x worse. It’s a moronic take, of course. Rebecca Watson breaks it down:


Arguably less useful.

“How many attendees got infected?” is what you ask if you are primarily weighing the costs and benefits of attending without regard for any wider consequences.

“How many cases were tied to the event?” is what you ask when weighing the costs and benefits for everyone who is going to be affected, including the people who just had the bad luck to be in the vicinity of someone who chose to go.

In an ideal world, you’d of course have the cases tied to the event diced up nice and fine along all sorts of additional factors, including direct attendance vs. spread from attendees, so you would have both numbers and plenty of others; but considering the infection risk of attendees as primary and infections tied to the event as secondary is dangerously myopic in this sort of context.


One of those numbers seems like it might be likely to convince self-involved a-holes who are willing to put other people at risk because they like motorcycles and one of them might be useful to policy-makers who do not consider such a-holes to be the majority of their constituency. So yeah, you are right that it is arguable both ways. I guess I think a concrete number might be most likely to make the a-holes feel bad, so maybe that would be the number that is most useful to me. I would like these people to understand that their actions had consequences and I don’t want them to be able to say “yeah those were all people who weren’t really there and who had underlying conditions and were about to die anyway.”

Ironically, Sturgis looks exactly like a convention for people with underlying conditions who are about to die anyway.

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We understand that you have many options when it comes to where to contract COVID-19 and we appreciate your choosing the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and hope that you will contract a deadly infectious disease with us again (if you are still alive).


It would be nice. But the types of people who attended are also the same types of people who claim the virus is a hoax and wouldn’t get tested. The fact that people can be asymptomatic spreaders unfortunately means there are people who can make poor choices but never be directly faced with anything making them feel at fault. So, yeah…


…yeah. It was a fantasy.

Nice link! She mentions the wedding in Maine that I mentioned either upthread here or in the continuous coronavirus thread. I like her snarky-yet-compassionate tone.
A favorite quote:

it would be nice to have really objective, clear data. But we live in an anti-scientific hellscape, so we don’t actually have the data that would tell us conclusively how bad this rally was for public health.


ie. a pretty typical american.

good leadership matters.

when local leaders, local businesses, the governor, the president, fox news, the gop ( and ummm smash mouth? ) are saying come on in the water’s fine… people trust that.

im not ready to blame the victims of propaganda and say that they should know better.


I appreciate your compassion, I wish I had more of the same. I find myself thinking, “you were born and grew up in a country with free public schools, access to free public libraries, at some point you could have chosen to shake off the blinders and learn critical thinking.” I just get so disappointed in my species sometimes :frowning:


I’ve been thinking for some time that COVID may just be our Great Filter

The Great Filter , in the context of the Fermi paradox, is whatever prevents non-living matter from undergoing abiogenesis, in time, to expanding lasting life … This probability threshold … might work as a barrier to the evolution of intelligent life, or as a high probability of self-destruction.

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I can’t recommend Rebecca Watson enough. Her writing is delightful and her scholarship is flawless. I found her through the Skeptics Guide To The Universe podcast, where she co-hosted for several years. I followed her over to Skepchicks when she left SGU (still listen to SGU also, of course- it’s still great).


If you believe someone who lies constantly verses scientists, I would say you are at least partly to blame when bad things happen as a result.


you can hope that one morning everyone will wake up and see the world as we do, but it’s not going to happen.

id rather them have the chance to grow and learn from their mistakes - something that can happen at any age - than be killed off before they have that chance.

and, unlike the attendees: the organizers, the governor, and the president have jobs which are meant to be focused on helping to protect people from dangers like covid


Long read on inverse about the paper at the center of the story. Statistics and estimating methods are still a work in progress as it was a draft. So the numbers may be high.

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The study exists, but why choose The Hill to quote about it? I concluded a long time ago that they all about sensationalism.

I guess when something is covered in lots of places, I’d prefer sites like BB to link to good sources.

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Remember to wipe 'em down good.

I strongly suspect that the Great Filter is more a combination of things like intelligence induced climate catastrophe mixed with barely concealed animalistic behavioural tendencies (i.e. you are not us, you must die!) and short term thinking.

COVID is a symptom of the larger malaise, which is that we as a species might not be up to the task of self management.


How about, more simply, “You remember that movie where the mayor of the town was so convincing about letting people go back in the water”?

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