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Motorcycle rider who attended Sturgis rally dies of COVID; hair salons open in L.A

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A motorcycle rider who traveled to the Sturgis rally in August has died of COVID-19 as infections rise in parts of the Midwest, Minnesota health officials said on Wednesday, while Los Angeles reopened hair salons and New Yorkers returned to gyms.

An empty lunchroom is pictured at P.S. 59 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., September 2, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Pool

The motorcyclist, identified only as a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions, was in an intensive care unit at the time of his death, said Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director.

“We are now up to 50 cases associated with Sturgis and sadly that includes one death among today’s total,” Ehresmann told a news briefing. Secondary infections were not included in the count.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, in August, an event that some public health officials worried could touch off a new outbreak of the virus.

The daily number of infections has been in decline across most of the United States in recent weeks, with new cases now at less than half the mid-July peak, according to a Reuters tally. Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota have been recent exceptions.

In Los Angeles, where officials had retained stricter coronavirus restrictions than most of California, the county health director said hair salons could bring back customers at 25% capacity, part of what she called a “cautious and titrated reopening.”


Barber shops and hair salons have been a point of contention nationwide as U.S. states slowly emerge from lockdowns imposed in the face of the pandemic.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, sought to defend herself on Wednesday after she was caught on video camera at a hair salon in San Francisco in apparent violation of that city’s coronavirus rules.

Pelosi, a Democrat who was seen on the video footage walking through the shop without a mask on her face, told reporters that she had been told by the salon owner that the appointment was allowed.

“Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask - despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!” President Donald Trump said on Twitter.

In New York City, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, fitness buffs were allowed back in gyms for the first time in months, although rules require a maximum 33% capacity and that guests keep 6 feet apart.

New York has seen by far the most deaths from COVID-19 of any U.S. state, more than 32,000, but its rate of new infections has dropped to among the lowest in the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told state officials to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as early as October, according to documents made public by the agency on Wednesday. The vaccines would be given first to healthcare workers, national security personnel and nursing homes, the agency said in the documents.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein and Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Jonathan Allen; Editing by Leslie Adler