search
Sections List
American Journal News

Anti-mask governor brags her state is only second worst for COVID

Gov. Kristi Noem has made her lack of pandemic response a marketing pitch for South Dakota.

By Josh Israel - November 20, 2020
Share
Kristi Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem bragged this week that her state does not have the highest number of new coronavirus cases per capita.

It has the second highest number.

At a Wednesday press conference, the Republican scolded the press for its coverage of her state’s uncontrolled pandemic spread.

“Now, some in the media are saying that South Dakota is the worst in the world right now, and that is absolutely false. I’d encourage you to look at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center,” she told reporters. “There you’ll see that there are other states with far higher new confirmed cases per 100,000/1,000 people compared to South Dakota.”

A local television station’s fact-check on Thursday determined that Noem’s claim was partially right: Just one state — neighboring North Dakota — has a higher rate of new confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

For months, South Dakota has been the worst or near worst state in the country, as far as per capita cases.

But as the pandemic has overwhelmed the state, Noem has refused to take action to curb it. She was one of a handful of governors who never issued any state-at-home order, claiming to be standing up for “citizens’ rights.”

She has bucked public health experts’ recommendations of a statewide mask mandate, calling it a “personal decision” and frequently sharing pictures of herself unmasked and close to others.

“Unfortunately, the spread of #COVID19 is rising in nearly every state, regardless of if they have mask mandates in place,” she misleadingly tweeted on Tuesday. “Here in South Dakota, we’re focusing on solutions that DO good, not on responses that FEEL good.” A New York Times analysis this week found clear evidence that states with the fewest safety rules — like South Dakota — have the worst outbreaks.

In August, Noem encouraged people to travel to Sturgis, South Dakota, for a massive annual motorcycle rally — even though medical experts urged its cancellation, calling it a “recipe” for disaster. The event drew hundreds of thousands, with few masks and little social distancing.

As predicted, the rally became a superspreader event. One study estimated that by September, it had already caused over $12 billion in public health costs from new coronavirus cases.

“This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend,” its authors noted.

Last month, Noem went on Fox News to claim that, despite the uncontrolled virus, her state was a great example of “Republican leadership.”

“[M]y people are happy. They appreciated the fact that we didn’t shut down their businesses, we allowed them to be flexible, take care of health, and protect the public — while still taking care of their customers and employees as well. So we’re doing good [sic] in South Dakota. We’re managing COVID-19,” she falsely told the network. “But also our economy is thriving. I think people are recognizing that leadership has consequences and what we’re doing in South Dakota is Republican leadership.”

In June, Noem tried to use her nonresponse to the virus as a selling point for South Dakota, suggesting people move to her state because of the lack of safety rules. “There’s no governor in America that has trusted their people to make the right choices more than I have,” she argued.

At least 65,499 South Dakotans have contracted the coronavirus so far — with 705 deaths. The state’s population is just under 885,000, according to a July 2019 Census Bureau estimate.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Gov. Tate Reeves’ top political donors received $1.4 billion in state contracts from his agencies

Gov. Tate Reeves’ top political donors received $1.4 billion in state contracts from his agencies

By Jesse Valentine - November 01, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

By Jesse Valentine - February 16, 2024
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal - February 15, 2024
Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

By Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor - February 15, 2024