Chris Jericho and his band, Fozzy, resumed touring last month and ended up playing multiple shows in North and South Dakota, as well as a show in Iowa. One of those shows ended up being the large, annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis. That show alone caused Jericho to come under some scrutiny as the number of positive cases of the pandemic were back on the rise.
Jericho originally defended the band's decision to play the shows stating both North and South Dakota had the lowest number of cases at around 1,000 each. He went on to compare those numbers to that of Florida, which at that time, had 9,000 new positive cases that day. Jericho went on to say that they were not performing in front of full capacity audiences as one show they played to a 50% audience and another at 35%.
Jericho went on to say that his band and crew were all tested and staying on the bus all day and the audience were handed masks at the door, as well as went through temperature checks. Although Jericho made it through the events without any symptoms or positive diagnosis, many others were not as lucky.
According to a study performed by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, of the over 460,000 people that attended the 10-day event in Sturgis, 266,000 cases were tied to the event. One death has been connected to the event - a male in his 60s that also had underlying conditions. The study labeled the rally a "superspreading event" and estimated that the cases connected it resulted in over $12 billion in public healthcare. That number is based an another estimation that an average of $46,000 is spent on each COVID case.
It is being said that many of the people that chose to attend the annual rally were not wearing masks and were not adhering to social distancing guidelines. South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, has publicly disputed the findings of the study and has called it "fiction."
"This report isn't science; it's fiction," Noem said. "Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis."
As of this writing, Jericho has not responded to the findings of this study.