This Republican governor thinks she's nailed her state's Covid-19 response. She hasn't.

en un remarkably self-congratulatory op-ed in the Rapid City Journal earlier this week, Republican South Dakota governor Kristi Noem wrote this of her administration’s handling of Covid-19 (negrita es mía):

I’m going to continue to trust South Dakotans to make wise and well-informed decisions for themselves and their families. I’m also asking that we all show respect and understanding to those who make choices we may not agree with. Our trust in the data and in each other has been rewarded. This is a testament to the people of South Dakotaour greatest weapon against this common enemy.
Er, qué?
Noem’s South Dakota is secondonly to North Dakota — en el number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 gente. On Friday, the state reported more than 1,100 new cases, breaking a single-day record set the day before cuando 973 cases were reported. Cases have increased by 51% durante las últimas dos semanas, according to The New York Times. De El 10 hottest spots for the virus, as tabulated by the Times, six are cities in South Dakota.
    If there is an epicenter for the resurgent coronavirus in America, then, South Dakota may well be it.
    And yet, Noem seems oblivious to all of these data points. En lugar de, her op-ed largely defends her mostly hands-off approach to the virus in the state to dateshe never issued a stay-at-home order, por ejemplo — while also arguing that there is no need for a mask mandate at this point.
    Here’s Noem on masks:
    There are many others who question the effectiveness of masks, and South Dakotans should take the time to read this information so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families. As I’ve said before, if folks want to wear a mask, they should be free to do so. Similarly, those who don’t want to wear a mask shouldn’t be shamed into wearing one. And government should not mandate it. We need to respect each other’s decisionsin South Dakota, we know a little common courtesy can go a long way.
    “Recientemente, a South Dakota doctor wrote me, thanking me ‘for treating your fellow citizens of South Dakota like adults…’ I tell you this because there are also some South Dakota medical professionals who have written to tell me of their fears about voicing their thoughts on the situation.
    That’s positively Trumpian!
    Many people suggest masks may not work! Masks are about personal freedom, not public health! Some doctor thanked Noem for taking such a laissez-faire stance on masks!
    Come on, gente. Wise up. O, at a minimum, check out this Washington Post chart correlating states where mask wearing is prevalent (and not) with people who say they known someone with Covid-19 symptoms.
    Masks work to drastically slow the spread of the virus. They remainuntil a vaccine is widely availableour best tool to fight Covid-19. This is not a political or a partisan statement. It is a fact.
    Why is Noem refusing to acknowledge the facts about the viruseven as it ravages her state? Because she has her eye on a bigger prize, a potential spot on the national ticket in four years. Noem has openly courted Trumpshe commissioned a miniature Mount Rushmore with his face carved on it! — and his supporters assiduously since being elected the first woman governor of South Dakota in 2018.
      According to South Dakota TV station KOTA, Noem will have traveled to North Carolina, Pensilvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Georgia, Misuri, Oregón, Minnesota, Florida and New Hampshire as a surrogate for Trump during this campaign.
      Aligning herself so closely with Trump in her response to Covid-19 could well be a smart strategic move for Noem as the party turns in 2024 to its future national candidates. But for the residents of her state, Noem’s actions in regard to the virus have been downright deplorable.

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