Rally headlined by Smash Mouth may have caused 260,000 new COVID-19 cases in the US - study

A recent motorcycle rally which featured a concert by Smash Mouth may be responsible for 19 percent of the newly reported COVID-19 cases in the US, according to a new study. 

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally took place in South Dakota in August as the country struggled with the coronavirus pandemic, drawing over 460,000 people who were not made to wear masks or practice social distancing. 

Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell made headlines when he was caught on video telling the crowd: "We’re all here together tonight! F**k that COVID shit!" 

Now a study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics suggests the event could have caused 260,000 new cases of COVID-19 - a sizeable chunk of the 1.4 million reported in America over the last month. 

According to the Washington Post, over 260 confirmed infections and at least one death have already been linked to the event. 

The IZA study, titled 'The Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and COVID-19', concludes that the rally generated public health costs of approximately US$12.1 billion. 

Last month, Smash Mouth shared an Instagram photo of some hate mail they had received for their involvement in the event, along with a Smash Mouth CD that had been broken. The band has since removed the post, but several news outlets report that the contents of the letter was hard to read and appeared to include the words "selfish", "kills" and "motherf**kers". 

Shortly after their appearance at the gig, Smash Mouth's manager Robert Hayes told Billboard the band was "very happy with the outcome" and believed the event had been "pulled off as safely as possible".