Step it up, governor

Letter to the editor

It really is time for our governor to look at the science and the data and stop feeding misinformation to the public.

Throughout this pandemic the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization have emphasized the use of face coverings as one method of several methods for slowing the spread of this virus. On Nov. 10, the CDC issued a scientific brief on the community use of cloth face coverings to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. 

In that article the CDC provides over 40 scientific references indicating that face coverings: 1.) reduce the number of respiratory droplets that are released into the environment by the wearer of the mask, thereby protecting others; 2.) help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer, thereby protecting the wearer; and 3.) when worn by a large percent of a community can be effective in reducing the spread of this virus.

Asking people to act responsibly on a politically-charged issue has not worked. 

As of Nov. 17, South Dakota has the second highest rate of COVID cases and deaths per capita in the last 7-days among all 50 states, and the second highest rate of total cases since January. South Dakota has a higher case rate (7,606/100,000) than any country in the world other than Andorra (7,654 COVID cases/100,000 population). 

North Dakota is the only state with a higher case rate and given the large number of tests they are completing, more than three times the number of tests per capita than South Dakota, it is likely that they will get this outbreak under control sooner than South Dakota if identified cases isolate. In less than 10 days South Dakota has moved from the 23rd highest death rate overall in the US to 19th and it is likely to get worse. South Dakota also currently claims the highest rate per capita of COVID hospitalizations in the past 7 days than any other state in the country.

Despite the science and the data, the governor continues to push a political agenda at the cost of South Dakotans’ lives. She travels the country and state without a mask and apparently little regard for social distancing. 

Governor Noem – it’s time to listen to national and global public health recommendations and protect the people you were elected to protect.