Fauci says he's 'concerned' about a potential uptick in COVID-19 cases from Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which draws thousands of bikers

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Fauci says he's 'concerned' about a potential uptick in COVID-19 cases from Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which draws thousands of bikers
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on September 23, 2020. GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top disease expert, on Sunday raised concerns about a potential rise in COVID-19 cases following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

"I'm very concerned that we are going to see another surge related to that rally," Fauci said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "To me, it's understandable that people want to do the kind of things they want to do. They want their freedom to do that."

An estimated 700,000 bikers are expected to attend the annual 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally amid the spread of the Delta variant. A city of Sturgis spokesperson told The Washington Post that face masks are not mandated for the event.

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The state of South Dakota has been grappling with COVID-19, as officials reported that cases jumped 68% last week. Last summer, researchers linked over 260,000 coronavirus cases to the two-week event.

"But there comes a time when you're dealing with a public health crisis that could involve you, your family, and everyone else that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do," the White House chief medical advisor added.

The US last month reported an average of nearly 50,000 new COVID-19 infections each day over the course of a week, marking the highest rates of new cases since May. Fauci appeared to reference rising case counts across the US, warning that "something bad is going on" amid the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.

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"Let's get this pandemic under control before we start acting like nothing is going on," Fauci said. "Something bad is going on. We've got to realize that."

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