Noem Pats Herself On The Back For ‘Unique’ COVID Approach. SD Has Been Hit Especially Hard.

MCDONOUGH, GEORGIA - JANUARY 03: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks as she campaigns for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) during a campaign event outside Gritz Family Restaurant January 3, 2021 in McDonough, Georgia... MCDONOUGH, GEORGIA - JANUARY 03: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks as she campaigns for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) during a campaign event outside Gritz Family Restaurant January 3, 2021 in McDonough, Georgia. Sen. Loeffler continued to campaign for the upcoming runoff election in a race against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 3, 2021 10:50 a.m.
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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is patting herself on the back for her state’s laissez-faire response to the coronavirus pandemic, falsely claiming that a hands-off attitude has helped South Dakotans fare better than people in “virtually every other state.” 

“In South Dakota, we just took a very different path,” Noem said during a Fox News interview on Tuesday night. “We knew the science told us we couldn’t stop the virus. We could slow it down and protect people who might be vulnerable and make sure we had enough hospital capacity to take care of those who would need it.” 

The Republican governor told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that turning down mask mandates and efforts installed in other states to curb the spread of the virus, enabled South Dakotans to “be flexible.”

 “That was a unique approach that for our people, really worked well,” Noem said.

Noem has repeatedly come under fire for refusing to issue restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has killed 1,779 people in her state and that reached a record high testing positivity rate of roughly 50 percent in November, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The comments painting the state as a a champion of the pandemic come after the COVID Tracking Project reported in December that South Dakota ranked among the top 10 states with the highest death rates per million people. December data also showed that the state ranked second highest for the number of hospitalizations per million people for the virus which has disproportionately killed American Indian people in the state.

As the Washington Post pointed out, about one in every eight residents in the state has contracted COVID-19, and one in every about 500 people have died from the virus.

“We did have tragedies and we did have losses, but we also got through it better than virtually every other state,” Noem said. “I think the media hates that because it really is a testimony to what Republicans believe in, what conservatives believe in. We implemented what we always say we believe and it shows that it really does work and brings more opportunities to families.” 

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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