South Dakota State University professor and epidemiologist Bonny Specker told NPR several days ago that she hopes educating people about coronavirus will get them to “listen to the science and not the politics and misinformation.” Dr. Specker is promoting that message with her daily blog posts, offering hard numbers, mini-lessons in epidemiology, and regular exhortations to “wear a mask, socially distance, and get tested if you have symptoms” (the sorts of simple, effective pandemic-control actions our Governor refuses to do).
Dr. Specker is trying to hold the candle of science against the hurricane of misinformation peddled by Donald Trump and Kristi Noem. After Trump’s repeated lie last week that the flu is more deadly than coronavirus, Dr. Specker offered these stats showing that coronavirus is scything down South Dakotans at a sharper clip than any recent flu season:
- 38 deaths in the past week is greater than the median number of deaths per year (n=32) from the flu over the past decade
- 86 deaths in the past three weeks is greater than the 73 deaths that occurred in 2017 during the worst flu outbreak in South Dakota that occurred in the past decade [Dr. Bonny Specker, “October 10, 2020 Data Report,” Bonny’s Blog, 2020.10.10].
Turn off the White House and our absent Governor. Read Dr. Specker’s updates and other straight science to understand what’s happening in this pandemic and what we can do to rein it in.