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States That Do Less to Fight Coronavirus Have More Coronavirus

Governor Kristi Noem’s office is spending more time attacking the press for honest reporting about the coronavirus pandemic than actually talking to the press to get out positive messages and guidance to help fight the pandemic.

Expect another broadside from Noem’s Beltway spin machine soon in response to this New York Times article which analyzes data from the University of Oxford and finds that states that have done the least to combat coronavirus are now suffering the worst outbreaks:

When cases first peaked in the United States in the spring, there was no clear correlation between containment strategies and case counts, because most states enacted similar lockdown policies at the same time. And in New York and some other states, “those lockdowns came too late to prevent a big outbreak, because that’s where the virus hit first,” said Thomas Hale, associate professor of global public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, who leads the Oxford tracking effort.

A relationship between policies and the outbreak’s severity has become more clear as the pandemic has progressed.

“States that have kept more control policies in a more consistent way — New England states, for example — have avoided a summer surge and are now having a smaller fall surge, as opposed to states that rolled them back very quickly like Florida or Texas,” Mr. Hale said. “I think timing really matters for the decisions.”

The worst outbreaks in the country now are in places where policymakers did the least to prevent transmission, according to the Oxford index. States with stronger policy responses over the long run are seeing comparatively smaller outbreaks [Lauren Leatherby and Rich Harris, “States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks,” New York Times, 2020.11.18].

Lauren Leatherby and Rich Harris, "States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks," New York Times, 2020.11.18
Lauren Leatherby and Rich Harris, “States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks,” New York Times, 2020.11.18

No Noem spinning or journalist attacking can get us away from this obvious and depressing fact: South Dakota is sicker and riskier from the pandemic because we have done less to fight the pandemic. A better Governor, one more concerned her people than her political image-making, would have done more to keep us safe. But our lives don’t matter as much as her TV star time.


  1. Nix 2020-11-19

    This morning, New York public schools closed because of a 3% positivity rate.
    Iowa is at 41% and we aren’t any better.
    So, what will it take to get the Dope Queen of Delusion to snap out of her
    Denial fog?
    I do not wish Ill will or this damn virus on anyone, but maybe, just maybe that is what it will take.
    It would take Kennedy to come out for her to consider lesbians to be normal,
    But Hey! Cannabis passed in South Dakota so anything is possible.

  2. Eve Fisher 2020-11-19

    She keeps saying that the projections in March were 10,000 South Dakotans hospitalized so we’re doing fine, just fine. She’s not going to change until she herself has been intubated; and that might not work. It didn’t for Boris Johnson.

  3. BGDavis 2020-11-19

    According to an article in the Guardian, her apparent goal is to rise to national prominence in the GOP by climbing up a pile of sick and dead South Dakotans. Nasty and perverse, but it fits the current right-wing climate. The crazy thing is that so many people in South Dakota seem happy to let this occur. After all, they are the ones crowding the bars and restaurants, and swaggering around maskless.

  4. sx123 2020-11-19

    Those graphs show how hard it is to contain, and that it’s important to stamp it down right away and keep it stamped down. Summer helped out a lot, but the situation is quite different now.

    VT was doing a pretty good job, but even they have a bit of an uptick.

    People in the south had a spike when they went inside for air conditioning, and as the weather cools down in other places, people will go inside there.

  5. Loren 2020-11-19

    “States that do less, have more.”

    We do the least and have the most! Vote Kristi for prom queen! We’re #1!

  6. mike from iowa 2020-11-19

    We likely will eclipse 12 million cases in America and 258k bodies for drumpf/noem body count….

    Last updated: November 19, 2020, 19:31 GMT
    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  7. Kurt Evans 2020-11-19

    Their own deceitfully-drawn charts still indicate that the virus has been spreading faster in states where the air has turned cool and dry, as cold and flu viruses generally do, regardless of government restrictions.

  8. bearcreekbat 2020-11-19

    I wonder if Kurt Evans actually has uncovered some hidden factual information to back a claim that Lauren Leatherby and Rich Harris were intentionally “concealing or misrepresenting the truth” (i.e. engaging in “deceit”) in preparing these charts?

    Perhaps Kurt could explain how he alone was able to uncover this deceit when the NYT editors, fact checkers and lawyers apparently were all fooled by Leatherby’s and Harris’ ability to “deceitfully” prepare the charts? Or perhaps Kurt has some factual evidence that all of these individuals conspired with Leatherby and Harris to deceive the public?

    After all, it is one thing to disregree with an interpretation of data and yet quite another to accuse the persons you disagree with of submitting “deceitfully-drawn charts.” I remain open to considering whatever evidence Kurt relied upon to make this assertion, as I have no personal factual information to contradict Kurt’s claims. And it seems incredibily important to know if Kurt has facts that mean we cannot rely on these reporters or the NYT editors and lawyers, because they either will conspire to deceive the public or are less competent than Kurt in fact checking the claims of reporters.

    Otherwise, I think maybe I have been exposed to another increase in temperature that carries a bouquet of bovine gifting.

  9. DaveFN 2020-11-19

    Talk about smug and sanctimonius:

    “Remember, there’s public debate and then there’s media manipulation and the enforcement of quasi-religious dogma that has little basis in reality. USA Today engaged in the latter.

    Stay well.

    Maggie Seidel
    Senior Advisor & Policy Director
    Office of Governor Kristi Noem”

  10. mike from iowa 2020-11-19

    Otherwise, I think maybe I have been exposed to another increase in temperature that carries a bouquet of bovine gifting.

    I vote bcb as poet laureate of DFP. Interesting verbiage.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-11-19

    Mike, notice the hard shots the UK Guardian author takes at Noem herself:

    “Having lost to Joe Biden in the election, Donald Trump has as much chance of being carved next to Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore as Donald Duck. But since Trump’s defeat, Noem has still clung to the president and to his policies as though her political life depends on it.”

    “Trump himself will be turfed out of the White House – quite possibly, kicking and screaming – on 20 January. But Trumpism will remain alive and well in its redoubt in South Dakota, while the pandemic rages furiously around its governor’s serene and maskless head.”

    “turfed out”—we need to use that phrase more often… and do it to Noem as soon as constitutionally possible.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-11-19

    No deceit in NYT reporting, just simple, obvious truth: do less to keep your people healthy, and more of your people will get sick. Why is this simple fact and the copious evidence supporting it so hard for some people to accept? Why are so many people interested in ignoring evidence and actions that could protect their lives, their families’ lives, their neighbors’ lives, and their local health care systems and economies?

  13. happy camper 2020-11-19

    Because tribal thinking skews judgment. For the root cause think more about why people can’t be objective.

  14. DaveFN 2020-11-19

    Rapid City passed a 1st reading of a mask mandate tonight, an alternative motion failing by our outstandingly informed Mayor Steve Allender breaking the tie and the main motion also sustained by Allender breaking the the tie.

  15. 'DANA HANNA 2020-11-20

    Check out the story about Noem in this morning’s Daily Beast. While she was busy doing her increasingly tired Sweetheart of the Rodeo routine in Washington DC and on Fox news, more good people in South Dakota died.

    And you can ask any cop how much sense it makes to base governmental health policies on an irrebuttable presumption that everybody in a community or a state is going to exercise good judgment, be personally responsible, and care about other people’s welfare. If that were true, we would not need any jails or prisons or psychiatric facilities in South Dakota. We have cops and prosecutors and prisons precisely because a minority of the people in any community or state are not personally responsible and present a danger to everybody else because they really do not care if their actions harm other people. They just don’t care. And from what I can tell, neither does our Governor.

  16. Jake 2020-11-20

    Rapid City’s “Yes” vote to mask-wearing was smart move by informed councilors.
    The ‘Rudy’ clown show prior to the meeting hosted by GOP ‘free’ pizza reminded me of the Four Seasons press conference by Rudy.

  17. Eve Fisher 2020-11-20

    Oh, well, if you’re going to listen to the investigative reporting of RedState, Steve, of course you’re going to decide against the nurse. RedState is about as accurate as Rudy Giuliani.

  18. mike from iowa 2020-11-20

    drumpf/noem body count shooting the moon again….

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  19. Jenny 2020-11-20

    Even if you have just a couple COVID patients in the critical care unit, those patients could be a handful if they are angry COVID deniers. During a mean-spirited election year, I have no doubt that Jodi experienced COVID denier patients. You have a president and governor that took part in grooming their denial.

  20. bearcreekbat 2020-11-20

    As pointed out by jenny and I in another thread, a simple read of the article linked by Steve reveals that the link title is mere hyperbole and propaganda unsupported by any facts.

    I saw a disagreement by the author of the article with the CNN reporter’s assesment of the significance of the problems identified by the nurse, but nothing alleging a failure to vet nor identifying a single false statement by CNN or the author of the article.

  21. Jake 2020-11-20

    Crickets from Kurt! Just as expected, isn’t it?

  22. mike from iowa 2020-11-20

    drumpf/noem body count taes off like a cruise missile with similar results…. mass deaths.

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  23. mike from iowa 2020-11-20

    From the Guardian…..

    US records highest number of daily coronavirus deaths since May
    Thursday saw 2,015 deaths from Covid and more than 187,000 new cases, another daily record

  24. mike from iowa 2020-11-20

    drumpf junior tests positive for covid.

  25. mike from iowa 2020-11-20

    (KTIV) – There were 4,277 new confirmed cases in Iowa from 10 a.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday, this according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

    At 10 a.m. Thursday, health officials reported 199,654 total positive cases across the state. That number rose to 203,931 by 10 a.m. Friday.

    The state’s website says out of those who tested positive, 114,309 have recovered. That’s an increase of 1,533 in the last 24 hours.

    According to the state’s latest report, there are 1,447 Iowans hospitalized due to the virus. Out of the hospitalizations, 275 are in the ICU and 144 are on ventilators.

    The state reports a total of 2,133 deaths since the pandemic began, an increase of 27 since Thursday.

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