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Specker: Maine Controlled Coronavirus Better, Still Competes with South Dakota Economically

South Dakota has fewer people and a lower percentage of older people than Maine. Yet according to epidemiologist Dr. Bonny Specker, coronavirus has killed more South Dakotans than Mainers:

  • Based on the 2019 US Census, South Dakota has a lower median age (37 vs. 45 years) and a smaller percentage of the population aged 65 and older (17% vs. 21%) than Maine.  Therefore, based on the higher case fatality rate among older individuals, and the younger population of South Dakota, the death rate should be lower in South Dakota compared to Maine.
    • The most recent number of COVID deaths in South Dakota is 3,046 (death rate of 344/100,000) compared to 2,624 (195/100,000) in Maine.

But our reckless sacrifice of human life at least got us better economic performance, didn’t it?

  • Maine has seen greater percentage increases in total consumer spending, total small business revenues, and the number of small businesses that are open than South Dakota since January 2020. The following summarizes the changes in economic indicators:
    • As of September 11, 2022, total spending by all consumers increased by 5.7% in South Dakota and 16.8% in Maine.
    • As of February 6, 2022, total small business revenue decreased by 14.2% in South Dakota and increased by 27.6% in Maine.
    • As of February 6, 2022, the number of small businesses open decreased by 4.0% in South Dakota and increased by 5.1% in Maine.
    • As of October 14, 2022, total job postings increased by 128% in South Dakota and 119% in Maine compared to January 2020.
    • As of August 12, 2022, employment rates increased by 14.9% in South Dakota and 13.4% in Maine (not seasonally adjusted).
    • As of October 1, 2022, there were 0.03 initial claims for regular unemployment benefits per 100 people in the labor force in South Dakota and 0.05 in Maine [Specker, 2022.10.19].

Specker’s numbers suggest that South Dakota could have followed Maine’s lead, taken the pandemic more seriously, enjoyed comparable economic outcomes, and saved a few lives. Denying coronavirus science, masks, and vaccines may have boosted Kristi Noem’s political capital, but pandemic pigheadedness did not boost South Dakota’s economic capital.

11 Comments

  1. sx123 2022-10-24 08:11

    Or Vermont. I don’t know how Vermont is doing economically, but their covid handling stats are some of the best.

  2. mike from iowa 2022-10-24 09:12

    When the name of the game is own the libs, who cares about results?

  3. O 2022-10-24 09:42

    Thank you, Cory. The Governor should not get a free pass on her “freedom” and “open for business” claims. Both of those came at a cost in lives to SD during the COVID pandemic. A “pro-life” politician should not be allowed to gloss over that fact to skip to the bottom line of profit. Even if the cost was that employees “only” had to suffer on their death bed for a couple of weeks, but got better so that their boss could pocket a few more dollars of profit, those stories need to be more than only a footnote to the freedom that the governor is touting.

  4. P. Aitch 2022-10-24 14:00

    Your Governor Noem was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do when Covid became rampant in SD.
    So, she did nothing to help and labeled it “freedom”.
    That wasn’t freedom.
    It was a helpless appeal to fear and a fraudulent representation of “small government”.
    She’s far more willing to offend than to accommodate.

    VOTE SMITH – HE CARES

  5. grudznick 2022-10-24 15:27

    It’s likely that had those 1,321 fellows washed their hands as well as your average Mainesian they’d still be around today. Everybody had the freedom to wash their own hands as often as they wanted. Plus, South Dakota has more Iowegians move into it than does Maine, no doubt boosting our morbidity rates.

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-10-24 15:58

    The problem with Republicans is they are always washing their hands of facts. DeSantis who wiped out New York in deaths has an ad on TV about how well he handled Covid. Remember like all Republicans he attacked Australia. They’ve got 1,600 deaths in Australia. They have about a million more people than Florida and Florida has well over 80,000 deaths. Just one fact among many.

  7. sx123 2022-10-24 21:08

    Grud, that’s another example of covid mishandling in SD: Emphasized washing hands (for a respiratory virus!) over ways to prevent breathing in (or out) covid particles. Not that washing hands is a bad thing of course…

  8. grudznick 2022-10-24 21:12

    I’m a big believer in washing hands. I think Governor Noem is as well. She took the opportunity to install better hygiene in us all, and we are all better off for it. Except those 1,321 fellows, of course, who didn’t do it.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-24 21:57

    While handwashing is always important in preventing the spread of pathogens, with a respiratory disease spread through the air, proximity to the virus by the breather is the most important factor. You won’t breathe it in if you are not near it. Period. Vaccines limit the number of people spreading the disease. Masks protect you, to a degree, when you are in close proximity to the virus. Lockdowns stop the spread of the virus in a specific locality when it has become concentrated and incidence is high. It is a temporary reprieve.

    The virus has one goal in its lifetime: to inhabit you, multiply and kill you. Mrs. Noem seems quite satisfied that “only” 3000, mostly elderly people, died in South Dakota. Thousands of others were sickened and many of those had difficulty with recovery. I have never heard or read an instance of Mrs. Noem calling this plague a tragedy, or of expressing sympathy to families of the departed or those still struggling to recover. She keeps her sunny side up.
    She was committed, from the beginning, in following Donald Trump’s prediction, “Someday, we will wake up, and it will just be gone. Just like that”.

  10. P. Aitch 2022-10-25 05:11

    Nazi in her response. Nazi in her daily demeanor. Cold as ice and just as nice. It’s because, like her response to a literal emergency, she doesn’t and didn’t know what to do. So, SHE FROZE!

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