ABSTRACT

Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and COVID-19   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Abstract: "Between August 7 and August 16, 2020, nearly 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts converged on Sturgis, South Dakota for its annual motorcycle rally. Large crowds, coupled with minimal mask-wearing and social distancing by attendees, raised concerns that this event could serve as a COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] 'super-spreader.' This study is the first to explore the impact of this event on social distancing and the spread of COVID-19. First, using anonymized cell phone data from SafeGraph, Inc. we document that (i) smartphone pings from non-residents, and (ii) foot traffic at restaurants and bars, retail establishments, entertainment venues, hotels and campgrounds each rose substantially in the census block groups hosting Sturgis rally events. [...] Second, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a synthetic control approach, we show that by September 2, a month following the onset of the Rally, COVID-19 cases increased by approximately 6 to 7 cases per 1,000 population in its home county of Meade. Finally, difference-in-differences (dose response) estimates show that following the Sturgis event, counties that contributed the highest inflows of rally attendees experienced a 7.0 to 12.5 percent increase in COVID-19 cases relative to counties that did not contribute inflows."

Report Number:
IZA DP No. 13670; Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper No. 13670
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Publisher:
Date:
2020-09
Series:
Copyright:
IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Retrieved From:
IZA Institute of Labor Economics: https://www.iza.org/
Media Type:
application/pdf
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