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Noem’s Old Back-to-Normal Plan Says SD Schools Should Close Again

Back in spring, Governor Kristi Noem said we could get “back to normal”—i.e., reopen the schools—if our coronavirus numbers showed a “downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period in areas with sustained community spread.”

Every South Dakota county with a state university or vo-tech currently has moderate to substantial community spread of coronavirus. We are one of eleven U.S. states/territories showing an increase in our 14-day average of newly reported cases. Our weekly average for newly reported cases per day as of yesterday was 143, a 54% increase from two weeks ago and higher than the worst surges in April and May.

New reported cases (bars) by day and (red line) seven-day average of daily reported coronavirus cases in South Dakota, March 1–August 23, New York Times, retrieved 2020.08.24.
New reported cases (bars) by day and (red line) seven-day average of daily reported coronavirus cases in South Dakota, March 1–August 23, New York Times, retrieved 2020.08.24.

Our spread rate, as measured by Rt-live, remains the third-highest in the nation:

Rt spread rate of coronavirus by state, August 23, from Rt-live, retrieved 2020.08.24.
Rt spread rate of coronavirus by state, August 23, from Rt-live, retrieved 2020.08.24.

In the run-up to Sturgis and back-to-school, Governor Noem bragged that South Dakota had “been back to normal for almost three months…” when our average daily case count remained steady in the sixties. Now with that daily count doubling, Noem’s own spring guidance says we should be pulling back from fantasies of normal and reducing the clusters of people at schools. But under her cloak of selective science and weasel words, Noem is telling us that “we can’t stop the virus from spreading” in a cynical attempt to insulate herself from criticism for the unhealthy results of her current reckless statements and policy inaction.

Science said back in March that our coronavirus quarantine would not be one and done. Science told us back in March that if we wanted to save two million lives in the U.S., we had to plan for “adaptive triggering,” a rolling series of social distancing and school closures. Noem’s own “Back-to-Normal” plan tells us it’s time for the next installment of distancing and home-learning.


  1. Observer 2020-08-24 08:17

    “It is what it is.”

  2. Nix 2020-08-24 09:33

    The Dope Queen of Delusion needs
    to build a fence around her head.

  3. Donald Pay 2020-08-24 10:20

    It’s we folks here said would happen based on the science. She’s infecting a lot of people, and killing some because she ignored science and medical advice. If there was justice, she would be up on murder charges.

  4. Matt Rosburg 2020-08-24 10:48

    Two million lives?? That number was based on bad data put into a bad model from the beginning.. One should be embarrassed to ever remind anyone of that prediction – ever.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-08-24 11:52

    Baloney, Matt. You offer no counteranalysis or evidence. That prediction entailed what would happen if we took no action. Thanks to most Americans being far more sensible than Kristi Noem, we took action that so far has kept us from realizing that disastrous outcome of two million deaths.

    But idiots like Noem discouraging the use of masks and encouraging wide open schools and bars and public activities before we get a vaccine invites that disaster back. Why encourage disaster? Why dismiss science?

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-08-24 11:58

    But back to the point: Noem’s plan says cases should be declining to justify reopening schools. Cases are increasing. Matt, why aren’t we following Noem’s plan and scaling back school hours and contact?

  7. james 2020-08-24 13:41

    Mask wearing has minimal impact on the economy in the short-term and even helps long-term for obvious reasons. And avoiding large crowds and unnecessary indoor gatherings would help keep us from shutting down completely, but Noem encouraged the opposite.

    This week’s cases were high and today’s numbers are really bad. (Over 20% positive.) If the recent results were to continue, we are in for a lot of trouble. She knew what happened when the southern states did this. Now we see a deadly rise in cases just like they did.

  8. jerry 2020-08-24 13:45

    On top of it all, herd immunity doesn’t work. Just because you caught it once doesn’t mean you are in the clear.

    “Hong Kong’s third wave of coronavirus infections was not yet under control even as the city reported just nine new cases on Monday, health authorities warned, as officials mulled relaxing some social-distancing measures.
    As the city registered the lowest number of daily infections since July 3, researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) said they had confirmed the world’s first case of Covid-19 reinfection – a 33-year-old man who was struck again 4½ months after he first caught the coronavirus.” South China Morning Post 8.24.20

    This trump virus is the gift that keeps on giving. So we must wear masks and practice smart ways of doing our daily needs. One of them ain’t school.

  9. james 2020-08-24 14:35

    Encouraging risky behavior hasn’t hurt Trump with his base and Kristi knew this. She went “all in” with the anti-mask majority in the Republican Party, and it paid off. Who is having meetings in the White House and speaking at their convention?

    The consequences of her irresponsible policies will come late, if at all, on Fox News and conservative radio.

  10. jerry 2020-08-24 15:05

    What do you think trump has on GNOem? The louder and stronger they hug trump, the more you wonder about the dirt they have dug up. Case in point is Jerry Falwell Jr. My, my, what an intriguing sex and money scandal, so much so that trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, had polish that turd over for a trump endorsement. Liberty University seemed to have footed the bills for all of that laying of the hands…which now has a new visual meaning…Thank gwaaad for the student loans that fund these shenanigans.

    You just know the same goes for Thune and EB5 Short Rounds, trump must have the goods on all of them and that is why they keep their pie hole’s shut. We still don’t know why Thune or those other republicans, took a 4th of July American holiday to go to Moscow.

  11. cibvet 2020-08-24 16:05

    I read an article where Falwell jr. pulled a trump. He now blames the wife’s affair for his unzipped pants and his arm candy’s unbuttoned pants.

  12. Debbo 2020-08-24 16:33

    cibvet, it wasn’t “the wife’s affair.” It was a three way thing.

    Jerry, I don’t think Deranged Doofus has anything on Kruel Kristi. I think she craves attention and she’s just that slimy and greedy. I’d like to be wrong.

    BTW, this link will take you to a Steve Sack cartoon of trump turds, or “All the Best People.” Same thing.

  13. o 2020-08-24 18:31

    Our numbers — anyone’s numbers — spike drastically when community spread kicks in. That type of spread is an explosion, an exponential spread (not a safe linear progression). We are now seeing the most efficient spreaders of community spread open: schools. Schools bring together all elements of a community. The physical structure of schools, even after attempts to socially distance, puts lots of people from all those corners of society in close physical proximity. My fear is not only the exposures/infections rising, but the explosion of the rate at a time we think we are “beating the odds” and “beating the house.” Are we ready to back down from our caviler “winning” streak? This virus, like all casinos, know the key is to keep players at the table – time is against the individual winning.

  14. o 2020-08-24 18:35

    Jerry, is it possible that now that Governor Noem has seen DC, Pierre (or Castlewood) just don’t have the luster and shine. How ya gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen gay Paree?

  15. mike from iowa 2020-08-24 18:56

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

    Couple more milestones reached today in drumpf body count.

    After 2 people died from Ebola in America, drumpf said Obama should resign. 170k dead from drumpf virus and drumpf pats himself on the back.

  16. Debbo 2020-08-24 20:26

    It’s really so bizarre when you think about. There is a collection of “adults” in the USA who believe that if you just pretend hard enough that it’s nothing, Covid will just – – – – – – – – magically disappear.

    At the moment, they are in charge, but that kind of “thinking” is one of the reasons why we must resoundingly defeat them on every level in November.

  17. grudznick 2020-08-24 20:41

    The Science shows you cannot defeat the virus, you can only figure out how to live with it. Live with it, not hunker down in the shadows like socialist animals and give up. This is what The Science tells us.

  18. o 2020-08-24 21:51

    grudznick, when you speak of “figuring how to live with it [the virus],” that isn’t Science speaking, that is business – deciding what the acceptable loss of life is to have an economy chug along. More disappointing is that economy is geared to service the most wealthy and more and more exploit the workforce.

  19. jerry 2020-08-25 08:37

    I’m sure that delegates and attendees will be bringing the covid around the country just like Tinker Belle GNOem’s killer bike rally has done. A lot of old chubby boy’s with bandanna hats, will not be coming back. So a smart feller might be able to snatch up a used Harley for a good deal. Spray it down with disinfectant for both reasons. All the way along the trail to Sturgis, they stopped, had a few beers, put some gas in and then left…only to follow the same trail back. Should be interesting to keep seeing our numbers rise and not know why.

  20. jerry 2020-08-25 10:33

    School of Mines, two down and whatever to go. Two have tested positive and good news! Just down the street The Central States Fair goes round and round like the big Ferris wheel. Oh the joy of watching a train wreck that Tinker Belle GNOem took the trestle out for. Besides Natives, who else is she trying to wipe out? Looks like students and teachers…so that is why she sent her kids out of state, the sly old dog she is.

  21. jerry 2020-08-25 15:05

    At least 4 now in Douglas School system, two that should have known better and two students. Here’s the money quote

    “Kerr said there wasn’t a district-wide policy about whether staff or students could attend or work at the rally.

    “We couldn’t stop them from doing that kind of stuff outside the district,” he said. “I wish they wouldn’t have gone, but I can’t mandate that.”

    The students are brothers, Kerr said, noting one attends Douglas Middle School and the other Douglas High School.”

    So there ya go. There is no doubt that this is just the beginning of a long something year. The workers at the rally worked some days, but now they have 10 days of quarantine. Doesn’t sound like a money making proposition to this old soldier. Impeach GNOem!

  22. kj trailer trash 2020-08-25 15:14

    Today’s pearls of wisdom from Kristi-Noem-Einstein’s FB official Governor KN account:

    “America is unique in the world. Government’s power is limited to the confines of our Constitution, which protects our God-given liberties and civil rights.
    We are not – and WILL not – be the subjects of an elite class of so-called experts. We the People are the government.”

    Per Rodeo Flag Girl, everyone from WHO, CDC, or every respected medical facility who recommends mask-wearing is a “so-called expert” whose hidden intent in giving us advice about science and medicine is not to free us from the ravages of a nasty disease, but instead and indeed their purpose is to enslave our will.
    So, since we are the government, we can outvote the virus, Kristi? She gets farther and farther to the extreme and totally nonsensical right every day. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see her wear a grain cap and a “QAnon” shirt to speak at the RNC (except of course that she’ll want to dress pretty for Donnie).
    I’m just bursting with pride over having Queen Nitwit represent our state. Good job, Guv.

  23. jerry 2020-08-25 15:28

    I’m sure they will be speaking of the great economy we now have. Soon add another 19,000 to the million or so on the unemployment parade.

    “American Airlines has said it will cut 19,000 US jobs in October as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on air travel, unless the government extends aid for airline employee payrolls.

    Airlines received $25bn in US government stimulus funds in March meant to cover payrolls and protect jobs through September.

    As the money runs out without a travel recovery in sight, airlines and unions have lobbied Washington for another $25bn, but talks have stalled.”

    I guess flying is kind of outdated these days. As my dad used to say “Walking ain’t crowded”, when I asked to use the pick up for a short scout.

  24. Debbo 2020-08-25 17:32

    City Pages has a story about the Sturgis Superspreader event. It comes with a map showing its tentacles across the USA. No paywall.

  25. jerry 2020-08-25 18:58

    61 new cases at University of South Dakota. When will the rest of the schools bring their numbers to bear? Of course, there are no legislators that exist in the trumpian state so we just float along.

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