Tag: South Dakota

What Happened in South Dakota?

by Noah Carl South Dakota provides an interesting case study of what happens when the authorities make practically no attempt to check the spread of COVID-19. The state’s governor, Kristi Noem, is a stalwart small-government conservative, who has been even more defiant in her refusal to impose lockdowns than Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. She has argued that “the people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety”, and at one point claimed that a “very prominent national reporter” had praised her for proving that lockdowns were “useless”. South Dakota’s epidemic began in the late summer of 2020; the state having been spared the first wave. Yet between August 1st 2020 and February 28th 2021 (212 days), there were only 64 days of mandatory school closures; seven days of workplace closures; seven days of bans on large events; zero days of bans on large gatherings; zero days of restrictions on public transport; zero days of mandatory stay-at-home orders; and zero days of restrictions on internal movement. In addition, Noem never issued a mandate on the wearing of face masks. The Mount Rushmore State, as it’s known, may have taken the least restrictive approach to COVID-19 of anywhere in the Western world. As things presently stand, South Dakota is ranked eighth highest among US states for the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million people – so not the worst, but ...

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