GO GET YOUR SHOTS! The South Dakota Department of Health announced this week that, starting Monday, April 5, every South Dakotan age 16 and up can get a coronavirus vaccine. That catches us up with Minnesota and 19 other states, not to mention the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, who have already opened coronavirus vaccination to the general public. So love your neighbors, serve your country, and GO GET YOUR SHOTS!
Rather than using the megaphone she has so diligently sought to encourage us all to GET OUR SHOTS!!!, Governor Kristi Noem offers this mealy-mouthed shrug:
“I want to take this opportunity and invite you to choose to get your free Covid-19 shot as soon as possible,” Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said in announcing her state’s expansion of eligibility.
…The number of Americans, and especially Black Americans, who have been vaccinated or want to be vaccinated has risen significantly since January, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey also found that Republicans and white evangelical Christians continue to be skeptical of getting a virus vaccine.
Ms. Noem, a Republican who leads a Republican-majority state, acknowledged those concerns on Wednesday.
“There will never be the heavy hand of government mandating that you get the vaccine,” she said. “We will trust our people to do the right thing” [Eileen Sullican and Andrés R. Martinez, “Wyoming and Other States Are Racing to Broaden Eligibility for Vaccines,” New York Times, 2021.03.31].
Invite you to choose?! Good grief! We are getting enough vaccines to put coronavirus and the pandemic recession to bed, but the people who would listen to Governor Noem most are standing between us and victory, and the Governor can only invite us to choose and then pivot to another cry of Freedom™?! This is no time for political sloganeering; this is the time to tell everyone who will listen and especially the knuckleheads who are trying not to listen to GO GET YOUR SHOTS!!!
But hey, this is South Dakota, where our pandemic response ranks last in the nation, according to a new analysis from the UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute:
Vermont, Alaska, and Maine were the three most effective states in responding to the coronavirus pandemic last year, a new analysis by UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute has found.
The institute created an index to measure the performance of all 50 states and 172 countries primarily based on three factors: rates of infection, death, and testing.
…”The most effective states appeared to be those that carried out strong public health measures grounded in science,” said Elsadig Elsheikh, co-author of the 2020 Inclusiveness Index, an annual report published by the Othering & Belonging Institute.
On the other end of the spectrum, the state with the poorest response to the virus according to the institute’s measures was South Dakota, followed by Iowa and Mississippi.
South Dakota’s last place ranking is not surprising, as it famously defied health guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the spread of the virus, including by refusing to issue a mask mandate. For a period in late 2020 the per capita death rate in South Dakota from the coronavirus was the worst in the nation.
A general trend revealed by the data shows that state governments which were more aggressive in issuing mask, shelter-in-place, and physical distancing rules fared better than the ones which did not [UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute, press release, 2021.03.31].
Right-wing stupidity produced poor results on the global scale as well, with the United States ranking 161st out of 172 countries surveyed for effective pandemic response.
Even as we reach the profoundly important moment when every South Dakotan can call the hospital or the pharmacy and make an appointment to do the easiest and most important patriotic, nation-saving, life-saving duty a regular citizen can do right now, our Governor soft-pedals it, exerting more Twitter energy to encourage kids to go kill skunks and possums than she does to encourage everyone to kill the pandemic. But responding more passionately to the loss of a few pheasant eggs than to the loss of 1,938 human lives is why South Dakota ranks dead last for pandemic response.
Governor Noem could save lives by tweeting one thing over and over for the next month: GO GET YOUR SHOTS!!! Instead, she continues to pander to selfish idiots who refuse to do science or practical patriotism.
To quote the followers of the Noem approach to the pandemic and politics in general, “No more bullshit“: Starting Monday, every adult in South Dakota can get a coronavirus vaccine. Every South Dakotan (except folks with extreme allergic reactions to shots in general) should get a coronavirus vaccine. Do your duty: GET YOUR SHOTS!!!