Press "Enter" to skip to content

Pourier and Foster Call for Masks to Protect South Dakota; Noem’s Office Claims Masks Mandates Haven’t Worked Anywhere

Representative Peri Pourier (D/27-Pine Ridge) and Senator Red Dawn Foster (D/27-Pine Ridge) wrote a letter to Governor Kristi Noem on November 19 imploring her to address the raging coronavirus pandemic by requiring masks statewide:

Rep. Peri Pourier and Sen. Red Dawn Foster, letter to Gov. Kristi Noem, 2020.11.19; retrieved from Pourier Facebook post, 2020.11.29.
Rep. Peri Pourier and Sen. Red Dawn Foster, letter to Gov. Kristi Noem, 2020.11.19; retrieved from Pourier Facebook post, 2020.11.29.

Rep. Pourier said Sunday she had not received any response from the Governor. But on Monday, reporter Jeremy Fugleberg received this response from Noem spokeswoman Maggie Seidel:

On Monday, Forum News Service reached out to Noem’s office for a response to the letter. Maggie Seidel, Noem’s senior policy adviser, responded by asking if FNS has sought evidence from the two lawmakers on the effectiveness of mask mandates.

“Mask mandates don’t work – they haven’t worked anywhere in the world. We respectfully request the news media cover the facts,” Seidel wrote [Jeremy Fugleberg, “Two Indigenous SD Lawmakers Ask Gov. Noem for State Mask Mandate, as Covid-19 Cases Top 80,000,” InForum, 2020.11.30].

Anywhere in the world? Um….

A number of other countries have used masks and social distancing—combined with strategies such as mass testing, contact tracing, and lockdowns—to rein in the novel coronavirus. New Zealand has been particularly successful. The island nation eliminated COVID-19 in June by reacting swiftly, ramping up COVID-19 testing, and entering a strict lockdown before the infection rate spiraled out of control. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, focused on unifying the country and clearly communicating what actions the government and general public needed to take. Since the start of the pandemic, about 2,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in New Zealand, and the country has remained ready to spring into action when new cases arise.

…Several Asian countries that faced early surges of COVID-19 have been able to keep the rate of new cases low, says Shenglan Tang, deputy director of the Duke Global Health Institute. He and his colleagues recently examined the strategies that China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Singapore used to combat the new disease. Several places relied on strict lockdowns, while others invested in mass diagnostic testing and contact tracing or focused more on social distancing and mask wearing. Although each region used a different combination of measures, all of them were effective at beating back COVID-19, Tang says. One reason for this is that all of these areas had prior experience with epidemics such as SARS and MERS; as a result, they were prepared to act quickly and people were generally cooperative [Kate Baggaley, “These Countries Managed to Turn Covid-19 Around. Here’s How We Could Do the Same,” Popular Science, 2020.11.17].

It sounds like Seidel and the Governor need to actually read Rep. Pourier and Senator Foster’s letter and read the actual science on mask mandates as part of an effective array of pandemic-control actions governments can take.


  1. DaveFN 2020-12-01 07:50

    Any letter appealing to Noem’s “rational sensibilities” is sure to fail.

    Seidel is certifiably irrational and insensible.

    [Really must stop reading you column, Corey. It’s beginning to make me thoroughly ashamed I live in a state where people who are voted in as well as their henchmen spokespeople are as dumb as stumps]

  2. Mark Anderson 2020-12-01 07:54

    New Zealand of course but it’s prime minister is a liberal woman just use Vermont, only 69 people have died there and they have a pub governor. Why do Republicans lie everywhere? Debate would be so much fun these days.

  3. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2020-12-01 08:52

    Taiwan, 242 days with no cases from anyone in Taiwan, 25million people. Homicidal Governor. Ignorant people she hires. Do they know how to read? I’m all for annexation to North Dakota or Minnesota, let’s do it.

  4. Richard Schriever 2020-12-01 09:01

    When caught in a lie – just lie about it.

  5. owen 2020-12-01 09:03

    Wonder if our Governor takes advice from Scott Atlas? That would explain a lot

  6. Whitless 2020-12-01 09:16

    Mask wearing reduces the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, Noem and her politburo of disinformation continue to discourage mask wearing with dishonest statements such as the one quoted above. Yes, the media needs to cover the facts, and the irrefutable facts show that compliance with a mask mandate mitigates virus spread.

  7. Donald Pay 2020-12-01 09:27

    Maggie Seidel is a fool whose statements can result in death. She should be locked up. A responsible person does not make statements that are demonstrably false and lead people to death.

  8. Frank Kloucek 2020-12-01 09:33

    Thank you Rep Foster and Pourier for being proactive. Facemasks especially N 95 facemasks reduce the spread, save hospitalizations and prevent death from this deadly disease. Why cannot our Governor understand that at the very least asking citizens to wear facemasks is for the good of all South Dakota citizens. Public health and safety is [and has been] at huge risk in South Dakota because some of our leaders refuse to even mention the word face mask.

  9. Jenny 2020-12-01 09:38

    I wouldn’t have bothered writing a letter to the Governor. The Reservations need to do the exact opposite of what Noem is promoting in order to stay healthy. Biden is on their side and that is what counts.

  10. sdslim 2020-12-01 10:12

    I have a son and grand-kids in Australia. At one point they went over a week with no new cases. Strict travel restrictions, testing, contact tracing, quarantine even for travel between states, LARGE fines for ignoring safety practices, no big public gatherings, masks in public —— it has all worked. They didn’t get on it as fast as NZ, but when they did they meant business. Americans are on the list that can not go there. Pop. 22.3 million.

  11. Dick B 2020-12-01 11:00

    South Dakota Leader-Sleep. Not only blind? But deaf and dumb, too? Noem-Skull’s office tries to turn the science argument on the requestors to provide evidence that masks are effective? How disingenuous. Apparently, science is just pixie dust to them. Please God … Remove these idiots in the next election. The lives of hundreds of thousands depend on their prompt dispatch from office.

  12. kj trailer trash 2020-12-01 11:21

    It’s sad that decent people like Pourier and Foster have to waste the first sentence of their eloquent letter kissing Noem’s ass by imputing qualities of normalcy, decency and basic intellect that Noem doesn’t have and never has had.
    Seidel needs to “use the Google” and find a zillion reputable sources which support mask wearing. Here’s one:
    “Masks are known to be more effective at source control — stopping the spread of potentially infectious droplets that are exhaled by a person with COVID-19, even those who do not show symptoms — than they are at preventing an uninfected person from breathing them in once they are already in the air. For this reason, Abbott stressed, it’s important for everyone to mask up in public places to stop this virus in its tracks. Otherwise, we could be stuck in an infinite loop of coronavirus waves, with daily death tolls on the rise.
    “Even when masks or other efforts don’t work 100%, it’s not like all is lost,” Abbott said. “There is still a substantial benefit to the wearer and the people around the wearer. If you’re wearing masks, and you do catch the disease, you probably got a smaller viral load. So the course of your disease is likely going to be less severe.”
    Herd immunity, Abbott added, is not a scientifically viable strategy for eliminating the threat of coronavirus. Scientists have estimated that herd immunity through infection, which theoretically occurs when the virus has infected such a large percentage of the population that it runs out of potential hosts, would require between 40% and 60% of the population to be infected.

    Recent tests of donated blood samples, however, indicate that less than 2% of the population in the United States has been exposed to the disease so far, meaning that progress would be slow and the death toll would be much, much higher if a herd immunity strategy was pursued. Furthermore, an October study published in the medical research journal, The Lancet, added to evidence that people can be re-infected with SARS-CoV-2, rendering herd immunity through infection an unattainable goal.

    “The way to get to herd immunity is through vaccinations, not by letting people get sick,” Abbott said. “I don’t want somebody’s politics to interfere with the safety of my family. I want that to be based on the best available medical information.”

    “Every layer, every tool that we have, we should be using,” Abbott said. “COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death among Utahns, after only heart disease and cancer. If we can’t come together on this and accept the recommendations of the healthcare professionals, who are saving our lives day in and day out, then it’s going to continue to have a huge toll on Utahns’ health and our economy.”
    Noem is ON IT, though, by telling everyone to follow her on Parler, where apparently rightwing nutjobs don’t get fact-checked.

  13. grudznick 2020-12-01 11:44

    You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Like my good friend Bill is fond of sayin…

    I’m just sayin…

  14. Whitless 2020-12-01 12:32

    Facts Matter. Here a comparison of COVID-19 in Vermont (VT) and South Dakota SD) as of today:
    Governor: Republican in both states
    Mask Mandate: Yes in VT; No in SD
    Population: 623,989 in VT; 884,659 in SD
    Population Density per Square Mile: 64.9 in VT; 11.5 in SD
    New Confirmed Cases today: 63 in VT; 416 in SD
    Currently Hospitalized: 28 in VT; 547 in SD
    Total Deaths: 72 in VT; 948 in SD
    Source of COVID-19 Information: Each state’s DOH website

  15. jerry 2020-12-01 13:16

    mfi, indeed, GNOem’s dear grandmother, dead from the Covid in Estelline. GNOem is a hardcore trumpian wretch who even hates her family. From your link:

    “On Monday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem buried her grandmother, who was among 13 to die over a two-week period at a top-rated nursing home swept by COVID-19.

    The 98-year-old grandmother, Aldys Arnold, is said by Noem’s office to have tested negative for the virus, though no cause of death was given. The other 12 of the 13 deaths between Nov. 14 and Nov. 28 at the Estelline Nursing Home are described by the administrator, Mike Ward, as “COVID-related.”

  16. o 2020-12-01 14:46

    Hello, it’s not EVIDENCE until (and ONLY if) President Trump says it.

  17. dc 2020-12-01 14:59

    Atlas and Maggie, great pair, she and counterpart Furry, came from school of Koch Industries! Also, if you have read recently, Mr. Koch himself said he made a mistake promoting Trump in 2016, didnt realize what would happen, with no science and cabinet full of gators, drain the Swamp!

  18. dc 2020-12-01 15:02

    What kind of non Governing do we have with Covid Kristi, none, totally opposed to Science and still on the tRump rant, where is she, head under a rock, now we have 3 tRump promoters, 4 with Dacovd NoNONoem.

  19. mike from iowa 2020-12-01 15:04

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  20. mike from iowa 2020-12-01 15:15

    Wouldn’t be the first time noem nothing fibbed about family matters, Jerry. She seems to have adopted drumpf’s whole persona.

  21. Fast Eddy 2020-12-01 15:26

    Mask mandates and other measures are too late. The virus is widespread and spreading wide. We had fools in leadership positions and so must live, and die, by the consequences. As for me, back in April, May and June I determined the places where it was safe for me to go. That’s where I spent money. I don’t go to the places that haven’t respected my life and health. I still won’t go to them if and when the virus is under control. I have a long memory. In this technological world, I can spend money anywhere I want, I can do business anywhere I choose. Too late for those who followed the T***p and N**m example.

  22. o 2020-12-01 15:58

    Fast Eddy, you are on the mark! If the economy is all that matters, then we have to express ourselves through the economy. It is getting harder and harder to even find the businesses/people worth supporting with the money from my pocket. Here is to your (and I hope all of our) long, healthy memory.

  23. Joe 2020-12-01 17:08

    From MPR today:

    “A motorcycle rally in August in Sturgis, S.D., with half a million attendees from around the country spread COVID-19 to neighboring Minnesota and beyond, according to Melanie Firestone, an epidemic intelligence service officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who co-authored a report on the event’s impact.

    South Dakota “didn’t have policies regarding mask use or event size, and we see that there was an impact in a state that did have such policies,” Firestone said. “The findings from this outbreak support having consistent approaches across states. We are all in it together when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

  24. Jake 2020-12-01 17:29

    The two reps from reservation country, being good SD Democrats, are going to be listened to by this mule-headed governor surrounded by Trump campaign rejects about as well as the Republican dominated (by far) legislature. These fine patriotic God-fearing politicians gave the millions of federal socialistic dollars to Noem to divvy up before the end of the year for the good of all South Dakotans; but business buddies were first in line it seems, leaving others pretty much hanging. I still haven’t seen any sign of any of it going to feeding hungry South Dakotans.

  25. Jenny 2020-12-01 17:38

    Way to go SD, your no mask obsession started by your governor killed Minnesotans. You couldn’t just keep the virus in your state, you had to open up a huge rally with no mask rules at all. They talk about the MN riots being horrible, well the riots have nothing on Sturgis this year in relation to deaths. Opening up Sturgis to the world has killed hundreds possibly thousands under Gov Noem.
    I work in healthcare in MN and the surge definitely started here after Sturgis. We were doing reasonably well before that.

  26. mike from iowa 2020-12-01 18:15

    Seems like everything New Zealand mandated worked like a charm and proves noem and company are flat out lying about the science.

  27. grudznick 2020-12-01 18:18

    New Zealand is hoping to get everybody vaccinated soon, otherwise they’ll be slobberknocked from the covid bugs worse than anybody within a few months. Blockades don’t keep out the covid bugs, and the science tells us you can’t stop the virus.

  28. mike from iowa 2020-12-01 19:08

    So close…. United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  29. DaveFN 2020-12-01 19:18

    South Dakota
    Cases/100K Last 7 Days: 107.1
    Cases Last 7 Days: 6,616
    Total Cases: 80,464
    Cases/100K: 9,120
    Deaths/100K: 107

    Vermont: Mask mandate since 1 Aug 2020
    Cases/100K Last 7 Days: 10.5
    Cases Last 7 Days: 458
    Total Cases: 4,172
    Cases/100K: 666
    Deaths/100K: 11

  30. james 2020-12-01 19:31

    “Mask mandates don’t work – they haven’t worked anywhere in the world.”

    Good God. Would someone ask Kristi Noem why the hospitals use them? Why they’ve required them for all of these months? And for the last 100 years in surgical situations? And why does almost every medical expert/epidemiologist recommend them? Study after study has shown that they are effective. States that require masks have had lower Covid rates since June.

    She is such a fraud.

  31. james 2020-12-01 19:38

    Please, please. Someone with connections get Anthony Fauci on the line. Ask him what he thinks of our governor’s thoughts on this subject.

    Damn, that would be great.

  32. Mark Anderson 2020-12-01 19:43

    Gruds dissing New Zealand, he has heard immunity from the proper ganders.

  33. grudznick 2020-12-01 19:47

    grudznick loves New Zealand, and has visited twice. It was years ago, but as I recall they don’t have much of a breakfast there but the scenery is great.

  34. o 2020-12-01 20:01

    grudznick, it’s all fun and goats here, but doesn’t it give you pause the governance that perpetuates the misinformation you push here has — and continues to — cost people their lives.

    Where are the demands for hearings? Benghazi was not chalked up to “out of our control circumstances” but instead there was pervasive inquests on how the government (Sec. Clinton) reacted to the situation. Where is that same righteous indignation to how President Trump et. al. have dealt with this virus? The big difference is how long-term and pervasive President Trump has been in the face of this crisis.

  35. grudznick 2020-12-01 20:08

    Mr. o, nobody dislikes President Trump more than I, or at least few do. I do not understand the blindness that makes many here think grudznick is some sort of Trumpettist.

  36. Mark Anderson 2020-12-01 20:10

    Of course that nation of five million has had 25 deaths they are just doing so awful. They need conservative leadership those New Zealanders. They should ask Gruds for advice. Vermont is nice this time of year too, I’m sure they could use a better Rino in charge after all they have about 70 dead from covid. They could learn from the maskless dakotas at almost 2,000 Dead. Freedom rings the bell, the chimes of freedom.

  37. o 2020-12-01 20:41

    grudznick, speaking for myself only, my confusion comes when your comments seem to follow in lock step with the misinformation President Trump (and his death-cult devotees) spouts.

  38. mike from iowa 2020-12-02 08:07

    The numbers of covid dead I posted last evening has not changed so people must not succumb over night.

    Nearly 2600 moar bodies added to drumpf/noem body count yesterday.

  39. Jake 2020-12-02 11:14

    MFI- out of curiosity, I wonder how long it’s going to take the ‘Stench of Death’ to reach the nostrils and brains of some of these non-maskers and GOP science deniers like our SD governess and others?! Could it be as long as it takes for his believers to realize Trump is a ‘con’ man?

  40. mike from iowa 2020-12-02 12:08

    Probably longer, Jake. If the rapture happens sooner than later, they will never learn. Wingnut party is already in a “ruptured” state.

  41. Tim Higgins 2020-12-02 15:54

    There has been a couple of references to the death of Governor Noem’s grand mother who was a resident of a nursing home, that according to articles posted was being ravaged by COVID. Nursing homes have been locked down for almost a year now. No one in a nursing home except employees and they must mask and wear other PPE. So if masks and lock downs work how is it COVID found its way in? According to the CDC almost 40 % of all COVID deaths in SD occurred in locked down facilities. Any one care to explain?

  42. mike from iowa 2020-12-02 16:20

    drumpf/noem body count so far for today….

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  43. jerry 2020-12-02 16:33

    Tim Higgins, think about this. Workers must go home to their families. These family members go to the store, the supermarket, have sex (not with themselves), drink beer, eat a sandwich. You know, get infected. They then infect their working family members. Of course, you knew that, but you want to play dumb.

  44. Tim Higgins 2020-12-02 16:37

    Jerry, but remember you wear a mask to protect others from you. So are you saying masks don’t work?

  45. bearcreekbat 2020-12-02 17:37

    Sure Tim, I’ll offer more than one explanation.

    First, your implied premise isn’t quite right – masks are not worn with expectations that they will stop any and all transmission of the virus. Rather they are worn because they provide a substantial reduction in the spread of the virus. But I have seen no claim by a scientist, medical professional, nor anyone else that masks will work perfectly to guarantee that no virus infection will spread from a contagious person wearing a mask. Thus, if your criteria is perfection, then you are right, masks alone cannot perfectly and completely stop the spread of the virus. But if you would like to see reduced infections and fewer deaths, then masks work as can be seen by comparing Vermont stats, where masks are required, to South Dakota stats, posted by DaveFN above at 12-01 at 19:18.

    Second, even if masks worked perfectly, one must account for human error. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that many people do not cover their nose with a mask, which allows a much greater spread of any virus droplets that they exhale.

    Third, Some folks are so blinded by the anti-mask arguments, that they will only feign wearing a required mask, but will immediately remove the mask if they think no one in authority is watching. Perhaps you have noticed that in stores like Walmart that not only require masks, but give free ones to anyone coming in the store, that there are still a few folks walking around without a mask because they think they can get away with violating and disrespecting rules.

    Fourth, the virus can spread from touch or into the eyes, which masks do not cover or protect from airborn particles.

    Fifth, South Dakota has become one of the states where infections have skyrocketed making it virtually impossible for everyone having anything to do with a nursing home, from delivering grocieries and supplies to making required facility repairs, from being exposed to an infected person. Once a virus gains a foothold in a facility, it spreads.

    So I hope this helps. While masks may not be able to entirely stop the spread of the virus, settled science currently has concluded that masks are an effective way to reduce the spread and to lessen the impact of new infections.

    And if I am mistaken in any of my statements, I will gladly review credible sources (i.e., not our governor, president, fox news prime time hosts, or social media) and re-evalaute whether masks actually do reduce, rather than eliminate, virus infections as well as the severity of the infections for the significant number of people a contagious person wearing a mask comes into contact with. So far the credible evidence I am aware of supports requiring people to wear masks to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

  46. mike from iowa 2020-12-02 18:20

    Last body count today…

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  47. jerry 2020-12-02 18:32

    Very well thought out explanations bcb. Tim Higgins is a trumper so he may need to be educated with a dose of the covid to convince him of it’s existence. Then he would just blame Obama..

  48. grudznick 2020-12-02 18:42

    Mr. mike, I know you’re from Iowa, where trapped there in your fancy dwelling there is little to do but watch web-o-death-meters and stare out the window at the CAFO, but golly bejeebus, don’t you think for your own mental health you should dwell on a few happier things?

    You used to like sunshine and rainbows and tea and crumpets and some of the finer things in Iowa. I am concerned as we head to the deepest, darkest month of the year that your mindset is very unhealthy for you.

    grudznick is concerned, that’s all.

  49. jerry 2020-12-02 18:51

    Why don’t you do South Dakota death and wounded Mr. grudznick, help mfi out a little. That would take your worry away and you could keep readers up on the numbers as mfi is doing nationally. Don’t be a concerned fellow, act.

  50. jerry 2020-12-02 22:14

    Terry, most of South Dakota has been hoodwinked by evil. The vile and evil governor and her legislature. The vile and evil president of the United States and his minions who are now openly seditious. Thankfully there are doctors like Dr. Keeperman from Reno.

  51. Jake 2020-12-03 10:36

    Thanks, BCB, for as good a description of the reason masks are worn by some of us as I’ve seen, ever. If ONLY Noem had early on (like Vermont) put a statewide mask mandate on, perhaps her Granny would still be in the rest home hoping for a visit.

  52. bearcreekbat 2020-12-03 16:11

    Thanks Jake and Jerry. I am still waiting to read Tim’s response to the reasons I identified in that comment. Incidently, that was not meant to be an exhaustive list of reasons as there are many, many more that I didn’t raise.

    Anyway, assuming Tim had posted his or her comment in good faith and for the purpose of discussion, he or she will likely respond to my comment by either pointing to credible evidence showing how and where I was mistaken or, better yet, acknowledge the validity of my responses to his query and reconsider his or her viewpoint. If he or she posted in bad faith, however, there will be either no response or possibly a snarky comment.

    Unfortunately, there always seem to be a few comments posted of DFP that are simply trolling or blindly repeating propaganda, rather than expressing an honest, thought out, credibily supported viewpoint with the intent to discuss the topic and defend that point of view. Maybe Tim’s comment was actually made in good faith, however, and he or she simply hasn’t had the time to respond. I certainly would be willing to reconsider any of the points offered by my comment if Tim or anyone presents some credible evidence to the contrary.

  53. mike from iowa 2020-12-03 16:57

    How happy am I, Grudzilla? Positively giddy. I found the word dotard in an actual sentence in a Max Brand western copyrighted in 1929. Page 124 of “The Last Showdown.”

    Never, in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to see that word used except by North Korea’s L’il Kim talking about drumpf.

    And drumpf/noem body count surpasses 2k again…

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  54. mike from iowa 2020-12-03 17:10

    The U.S. recorded a record 3,157 deaths on Wednesday alone, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Some hoax. Betting people wish it would stop, but you can’t convince wingnuts the threat is real or that scientifically proven measures work to slow the pandemic.

    So I will keep posting body count numbers as they become available as a PSA reminder who screwed the pooch on the pandemic.

  55. Curt 2020-12-03 17:12

    Was the dotard in the Brand novel also orange in color? “Last Showdown” fairly well sums up this ongoing Trump-Guiliani circus.

  56. grudznick 2020-12-03 17:45

    A good word, Mr. mike, and it gives me a giddy tickle as well. Why, if I was going to visit one of those famous Iowegian tattoo parlors in Sioux City’s stinking underbelly again I’d get the word emblazoned on my gauged left earlobe, if I still had one.

  57. mike from iowa 2020-12-03 17:51

    The dotard in question was a curmudgeonly bank owner with the natural sweetness of a tangle of bobwire. Similar to Grudz, I’m guessing.

  58. grudznick 2020-12-03 18:11

    Not as ugly, though, I am quite sure. grudznick’s visage has grown much worse during these difficult times of closed barbershops and less eating out.

  59. Jake 2020-12-05 11:27

    MFI: thanks for frequent postings of our poor nation’s body count! Sorta reminds one of war-time, don’t it?

  60. mike from iowa 2020-12-05 13:49

    Thanks, Jake. Wars in my life have never suffered these amounts of daily bodies. I have been around since 1953.

    1953. Ah, memories. Three major events were recorded in that year. The Korean Police action ended. Corvettes were first built and sold and Playboy was published and offered for sale.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.