Sturgis motorcycle rally tied to new coronavirus cases a state away in Nebraska

Coronavirus cases tied to this month's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota have appeared across state lines in Nebraska, public health officials said Thursday.

At least seven new cases in the region have been tied to the rally, the Panhandle Public Health District confirmed to NBC News. The health department did not provide further details.

The annual 10-day gathering began August 7 and ran until Sunday and drew more than 460,000 vehicles, according to South Dakota’s Department of Transportation. The event was held despite concerns from residents that it may put people at risk for contracting COVID-19, the disease associated with the virus.

At least one case had already been connected to the rally. The state’s Department of Health said in a news release Tuesday that a South Dakota resident who visited One-Eyed Jack's Saloon in Sturgis between noon and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11 may have transmitted the virus to other patrons.

Videos and photos posted to social media showed a large crowd gathered during a Smash Mouth performance during the rally's opening weekend. The band headlined the Sturgis Buffalo Chip music festival.

Event organizers had said signs would be posted at all entry points and gathering areas to remind guests to remain socially distant, encourage the use of face coverings and explain recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But attendees seemingly flouted such guidance as images showed them close together without masks or face coverings during the band's set. Social media users criticized Smash Mouth for its involvement in the gathering.

Frontman Steve Harwell told the crowd, "We're all here together tonight. F--- that COVID s---," one video showed.

A representative for the group said the band had no further comment.