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Top Health Official Expresses Concerns About Upcoming Sturgis Rally

Dr. Shankar Kurra, vice president of medical affairs at Monument Health

A top health official said the Sturgis motorcycle rally could spread the COVID-19 delta variant.  


Dr. Shankar Kurra, who is vice president of medical affairs at Monument Health in Rapid City, said an outbreak traced to Provincetown, Massachusetts, over the Fourth of July weekend caused nearly a thousand cases. 


“We will see a rise in numbers after the rally and probably within ten days just like within Provincetown ten days from the first event, they had a surge in cases,” Kurra said. “We will see that. The question then remains, how many of those folks’ cases we see are vaccinated cases because the ones that are not vaccinated will end up in the hospital requiring ICU care and unfortunately may even succumb to the disease.” 


Vaccinated people can still contract the delta variant, but Kurra said vaccines offer important protections.  


“If you’ve got the vaccine, doesn’t matter if it’s the Johnson and Johnson or either of the mRNA vaccines Moderna or the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, you’re protected in one important sense,” he said. “You will not suffer the consequences of severe disease and death.”


The Sturgis motorcycle rally will begin on Friday. 


This story comes from a recent interview on SDPB's weekday radio program, "In the Moment." Listen to the full interview below.