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Yes, Kristi, You Can Catch Coronavirus from Someone Showing No Symptoms

Did Governor Kristi Noem just say the opposite of medical fact on national TV and endanger public health?

On Fox News again yesterday for another live chat from her private video studio in Pierre, Governor Noem said she tested negative again yesterday for coronavirus. Whew—that’s good.

However, this second test reverses a statement Team Noem made Monday saying the Governor would not be getting tested again. Noem’s office must have felt compelled to respond to the blowback from the Governor’s recklessly exposing the President of the United States to increased coronavirus risk for over three hours in close quarters on Air Force One after her close contact with a person who tested positive Friday for coronavirus.

Much worse, Noem proceeded to contradict what seems to be pretty well-known science about how coronavirus spreads:

“I’ve always taken #COVID19 very seriously, but South Dakota trusted our citizens to exercise their personal responsibility to keep themselves and their loved-ones safe,” Noem tweeted, adding that she had also tested negative on Friday before meeting with Trump.

In an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, Noem was asked about flying back to Washington, DC, with Trump on Air Force One after coming into contact with Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a top campaign fundraiser.

“We need to remember that Kimberly was asymptomatic and the science of the virus tells us that it’s very, very difficult to spread the virus when you’re asymptomatic,” Noem responded [emphasis mine; Rebecca Riess and Caroline Kelly, “South Dakota Governor Says She Has Tested Negative for Coronavirus After Being Exposed to Top Trump Campaign Official,” CNN, 2020.07.07].

As Noem spoke, the press was covering a new study that shows Noem’s statement that people who aren’t showing symptoms are “very, very unlikely” to spread coronavirus is flat wrong:

Just over half of new coronavirus infections are tied to people who don’t have symptoms, according to a new study from infectious disease modelers.

People sick with COVID-19 can be infectious before they start to show symptoms, while some don’t show symptoms at all. The study, published this week in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that these presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases account for 48% and 3.4% of virus transmissions, respectively – meaning “silent disease transmission” can fuel outbreaks even if everyone who has symptoms is immediately isolated.

Those figures likely represent a conservative estimate, researchers acknowledge, and assume 17.9% of all coronavirus infections are asymptomatic. Other recent research indicates as many as 45% of all cases could be among people with no symptoms, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously estimated that 40% of transmissions occur before people show symptoms [Gaby Galvin, “Study: ‘Silent’ Transmission the Top Driver of Covid Outbreaks,” U.S. News and World Report, 2020.07.07].

It was in the papers two weeks ago that Noem’s statement yesterday is dead wrong:

It is now widely accepted that seemingly healthy people can spread the virus, though uncertainty remains over how much they have contributed to the pandemic. Though estimates vary, models using data from Hong Kong, Singapore and China suggest that 30 to 60 percent of spreading occurs when people have no symptoms [Matt Apuzzo, Selam Gebrekidan, and David D. Kirkpatrick, “How the World Missed Covid-19’s Silent Spread,” New York Times, 2020.06.27].

Governor Noem already has her Department of Health broadcasting a deceptive and incomplete PSA that claims washing your hands “is the very best weapon we have” to prevent coronavirus. That’s false: masks are at least as important, maybe more, in preventing the spread of covid-19. Noem’s PSA mentions covering one’s mouth when one coughs or sneezes, but it does not mention wearing a mask regularly in public situations.

Now Noem compounds her mixed messaging by saying on national TV that you’re not likely to spread coronavirus if you aren’t showing symptoms, a claim flatly contradicted by scientific evidence.

Governor Noem, please correct your error. The lives of millions of Americans depend on elected leaders giving correct public health information.

37 Comments

  1. Owen 2020-07-08

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t Noem have to self-quarantine for 14 days?

  2. jerry 2020-07-08

    GNOem is a dummy and the folks that voted for her are equal dummy’s if not worse, they knew what they were buying when they punched that ticket.

    Gary, South Dakota is now a Covid19 hot spot due to a street dance. Check out the irony of Gary, South Dakota’s self description.

    “It is also one of the few small towns in the MIdwest that continues to thrive despite the adversities plaguing some small towns today.” Booyah! get it? “Plaguing” How appropriate. Gary needs to get a room with GNOem to bring more stupid into the world.

  3. Ray Tysdal 2020-07-08

    Questions for Kristi Noem. (Darling of Fox News and Governor for Show Only):
    1. What have you done that directly benefits all South Dakotans and not just right wing benefactors?
    2. Do you even know where West River is?
    3. Oh, that’s right, that’s right…you do know where the Black Hills is but did you know that to those of us who live here look at it as home and not just a playground for you and a major source of tourist tax money for the state?
    4. Did you know that only 47% of voters in South Dakota are Republican?
    5. Do you understand that you were elected to be a leader for ALL South Dakotans and not just that 47%?
    6. When you look in the mirror do you understand that you will be remembered for your actions and not your looks?
    7. Do you understand that the Mt. Rushmore fireworks and trumparama, Belle Fourche Roundup, the Days of 76 and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally are giving South Dakota a fighting chance to catch up with other states with major Covid-19 outbreaks? (To use the GOP’s favorite line “my thoughts and prayers that it doesn’t happen).
    8. Did you know there are other news outlets other that Fox News?
    9. Can you see Russia from your house? (Oh, sorry, that was Sarah Palin).

  4. Richard Schriever 2020-07-08

    Just read a study this morning that 78% of people who have tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic at the time they were tested.

    I don’t recall the sample size/location. Some may be due to false positives of the test being used. But still……..

  5. ds 2020-07-08

    Kristi Noem you and trump wanted the Mt Rushmore fireworks which obviously imported some unmasked and infected peoples from many different states. Many West River residents who are health care workers, transportation, housing and food service workers were exposed because of your political ambitions now demand a free Corvid-19 test. Use some of that $1.25B you are hoarding under your mattress.

  6. Michael L Klatt 2020-07-08

    Not only is this latest TV PSA deceptive and incomplete because it doesn’t mention wearing masks, it’s even worse because it doesn’t mention social distancing either. It conforms nicely with Noem’s incredibly bad public health decisions regarding the Mt. Rushmore fireworks display. To quote the Church Lady from SNL, “How convenient.” Isn’t this a misuse of public funds?

  7. Bob Newland 2020-07-08

    We are already facing a wave of Covid-linked brain damage. I read it on FB; I read it on Dakota Free Press (Kristi’s quote above is evidence); I hear it on the radio.

  8. Eve Fisher 2020-07-08

    Try getting tested in 10 days, Governor – because this virus takes 7-14 days to go from zero to infection. Meanwhile, quarantine.
    Because you can indeed catch the virus from someone who’s asymptomatic. That’s how many people have caught it. And you could be spreading it with your every breath. Finally, New Zealand stopped the virus by masks, social distancing, and a mandatory lock down. And it worked: no deaths, no more cases. It can be done, and by a woman – just not by you.

  9. John 2020-07-08

    We’ll have to again excuse NOem. Her college degree is the equivalent of a college-GED, not-science-based, issued as it was in a sympathy case. Apparently as was the case for orange Nixon, who paid another to take his SATs. What a fine pile of non-leaders you republicans elected and protected.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-07-08

    Ray, on Question #8, when SDPB has to play audio from Noem’s Fox News vanity spot to get a quote, the Governor is clearly focusing on communicating with the wrong audience, a national audience instead of her own constituents.

    Her wrong statement about transmission from people not showing symptoms also shows she’s not focusing on any real science or on helping her people take the most sensible precautions to protect everyone’s health.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-07-08

    Holy cow, Jerry and Bob: long-term brain damage from coronavirus? That’s awful. If that science firms up, that’s another indication that we can’t let Trump get by with saying that a lower mortality rate from coronavirus means most cases are harmless: the people who catch and survive this virus may all sorts of ongoing and costly harms in the future.

    That’s all the more reason for Noem to get her science correct now and avoid creating any false sense of security among citizens that could lead to reckless behavior. You can catch coronavirus from people who aren’t coughing or sneezing or exhibiting any other visible warning sign. You can have it and spread it to other people even if you feel fine, even if you feel as good as Kim G did when she hugged Kristi or as Kristi did when she hopped on Air Force One. And if you get sick, or you make someone else sick, you and the person you infected probably won’t die, but the harms extend far beyond death.

    So don’t be reckless: If you’re going out, wear your mask.

  12. mike from iowa 2020-07-08

    hoax body count of drumpf’s own making….

    Deaths:
    134,309

  13. jerry 2020-07-08

    Can someone say pre-existing conditions for the 8,000, so far, South Dakotan’s for future health insurance? Man, those folks are so screwed that we all are, by paying their future health care bills. Ah trump America, smells like a CAFO and looks like a crap sandwich, with GNOem as the head cook here. Grill on baby, there are certainly more to kill and maim here. Quick, powder your nose, and get ready to rumble with the Covid, you lucky gal… Look for that dry cough and scratch throat. Anyone know if Ed the Head Randazzo is still with us?

  14. Eve Fisher 2020-07-08

    On http://doh.sd.gov website, the “Precautions to Avoid Illness” listed are:
    Know how it spreads
    Wash your hands often
    Avoid close contact
    Cover coughs and sneezes
    Clean & disinfect
    BUT NO MASKS or social distancing.

    Fairly obvious censorship – We’re screwed.

  15. Moses6 2020-07-08

    Did the queen ride a horse back from D.C. or what?Were south dakota tax payers bilked for her return to S.D.Can we do better than having a subsidy queen as Governor.

  16. leslie 2020-07-08

    Catching up w/ Debbo a few days ago: NPR-infections are estimated to be 10x the official count of 3 million= 30 Million, ten % of the US population.

  17. jerry 2020-07-08

    Ruh oh, Rapid City Day Care with Covid19

    “After learning two staff members and one child had tested positive for COVID-19, Leap 2 Learn Educational Childcare decided to close for two weeks so families and staff can self-quarantine.

    Amy Ray, owner of the day care at 625 N. Creek Drive in Rapid City, said she made the decision to close the facility after learning one staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

    Ray contacted all the families and employees related to the day care center and asked them to stay at home for 14 days to monitor for symptoms.” Rapid City Journal 7.8.20

    Great reporting and good that the owner did the right thing here and did her own contact tracing. GNOem should contact this lady and find out how to do that.

  18. grudznick 2020-07-08

    Do you fellows think Governor Noem got to eat on Air Force One? Did she get to use the facilities and look around? I wonder what they served, or if you got to order breakfast all-day, like most fine dining establishments.

  19. Nick Nemec 2020-07-08

    What was the purpose of Noem’s AF-1 ride? Was business conducted in flight? What business?

  20. crj 2020-07-08

    High Five, Ray.

  21. grudznick 2020-07-08

    Mr. Nemec, it could just have been a ride for joy.

  22. jerry 2020-07-08

    Speaking of catching the trump Covid, Here are our current numbers 60,795 today! 134,838 deaths plus today’s killing of 866.

    1 USA 3,157,879 +60,795 134,838 +866

  23. Ray Tysdal 2020-07-09

    Question #10. If corona virus causes brain damage, can it damage an already damaged brain??? Kristi, Donny??

  24. mike from iowa 2020-07-09

    drumpf body count for today, so far…

    Deaths:
    135,388

  25. jerry 2020-07-09

    No testing due to a reagent shortage, is the reason GNOem and the rest of South Dakota lacks the testing capabilities. Her sugar daddy, trump, will not kick in emergency Defense Emergency Act for anything but the poor meat processors in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Huron. Even if the dummy wanted a test, she can’t get one because of our inept Russian leader who wants to destroy America in every which way it can.

    “Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19.

    At a testing site in New Orleans, a line formed at dawn. But city officials ran out of tests five minutes after the doors opened at 8 a.m., and many people had to be turned away.

    In Phoenix, where temperatures have topped 100 degrees, residents have waited in cars for as long as eight hours to get tested.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/us/coronavirus-test-shortage.html

    Vote Biden! Vote for anyone who is not republican as they have crapped the bed of responsible government.

  26. grudznick 2020-07-09

    grudznick dislikes Mr. Trump, but has even less respect for residents in Phoenix who do not have air conditioned cars. If you do not own an air conditioned car, move up to the ’70s, or call grudznick and I’ll trade you a car for your antique.

  27. jerry 2020-07-09

    Takes a lot of petrol to run a car for 8 hours with or without air conditioning. If you get out of the line to go get gas, then you start all over, that is what you call perpetual motion, anyway, we called it that in the 70’s.

  28. mike from iowa 2020-07-10

    drumpf body count as of 11 AM iowa time…

    136,022

  29. jerry 2020-07-10

    Pennington County reports 3 new killed by Covid of the 6 today in South Dakota. This all comes back to GNOem and her failed leadership.

    “South Dakota reported six new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, marking the highest jump in fatalities reported in a single day and bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 107.

    The previous highest one-day jump was May 29, when the DOH reported five new deaths, moving from 54 to 59.

    Three of the fatalities were from Pennington County, two from Minnehaha and one from Hughes. According to data from the DOH, four were men and two were women. Two were in their 30s, one person was in their 60s and three were in their 80s”. Rapid City Journal 7.10.20

    Getting more even in the death brackets of those killed in trump/GNOem’s virus. Two in their 30’s, my gwaaad, taken so early, even the 60’s. What a complete failure. Thanks EB5 Short Rounds for your failed leadership as well.

  30. jerry 2020-07-10

    Military installations and other federal agency’s are being decimated by Covid19. Putin thanks trump/EB5 Short Rounds and, of course, Thune, for their efforts.

    “A surge in the spread of the novel coronavirus has left many questioning decisions to reopen federal offices and military installations across the country, and employees and lawmakers are warning that agencies are not taking proper steps to ensure the safety of employees.

    A group of Democratic senators in the national capital region on Thursday sent a letter to Michael Rigas and Russel Vought, the acting directors of the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget, respectively, imploring them to continue instructing agencies in the area to allow for maximum telework. At the outset of the pandemic federal agencies across the country sent huge numbers of workers home to perform their duties remotely, but in recent weeks agencies have increasingly started calling them back to their offices.”

    January 2021 cannot come fast enough to toss the trash from the White House along with the rest of the sewage.

  31. David King 2020-07-10

    I am part Navajo & have given Gov. Kristi her Native Name, Gov. Noem Nothing. Anyway I watched a CNN YouTube video with Gov. Noem Nothing on the Coronavirus So. Dakota site. The title was – So. Dakota Governor equates wearing a mask to freedom. After Gov. Noem Nothing finished saying this to Erin Burnett of CNN, Medical Experts Dr. Sanjay Gupta & Dr. Reiner, all three were sitting there shaking their heads like are you serious, we can’t believe you just said that. Erin Burnett says that’s just wrong, just awful. & Dr. Sanjay said it was frightening what she said. It’s has been pulled from YouTube, but you can watch it on CNN.Com. Goes to show people how that disease Your so smart your stupid is worse than the Virus with Gov. Noem Nothing.

  32. David king 2020-07-17

    I really like Dakota Free Press & the comments made about Gov. Noem Nothing. Although you folks need to go to her YouTube videos & comment also. All I see are good comments praising her & the U.S. looks at her like she is some kind of Queen. Let the U.S. hear your comments & see the truths behind her B.S.

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