Thousands Of Bikers Descend On Missouri For Rally, Heighten COVID-19 Anxiety

Rena Schild/Shutterstock

Adam Barnes General Assignment Reporter
Font Size:

Thousands of bikers rallied at The Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri over the weekend, leading to renewed concern that the numerous, reportedly maskless attendees could increase the spread of COVID-19.

The 14th Annual Bikefest, which normally draws over 100,000 people, lasted five days and featured over 300 bars and 50 live events, NBC News reported.

“If I was worried about getting sick I would have stayed home,” one rider told MSNBC, declining to give their name. “But I wanted to have some fun.”

The rally caused concern among health experts as nationwide cases and deaths continue to rise as Missouri has recorded 116,032 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,916 deaths, according to The New York Times.

“People are going to congregate from all over the country, and it will likely spur a chain of transmissions that has impacts in various different states,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins specializing in infectious diseases, told The Daily Beast.

“It will be a major task for public health officials because it is very difficult to track this mobile population.”

But fear of catching the virus did not deter some locals from enjoying the moment.

“It’s great to see,” Dan Ousley, and Ozarks local told the Daily Beast. “Honestly, I think that the COVID-19 thing is a little overblown, to be honest. We made national news for having large crowds, but we just want to live our life.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 199,024 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. as of September 21.