While many U.S. states were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and cases continue to rise across much of the nation, states such as South Dakota have been largely spared its wrath thus far.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem touted her state’s numbers in comparison to others, noting that more South Dakotans have died of accidental causes than COVID-19 over the duration of the pandemic, as reported by Breitbart.
“A risk with everything”
Although the sparsely populated region did not require lockdown mandates and business closings on the scale of the rest of the United States, Noem has nonetheless received some criticism for her hands-off approach to handling the public health crisis.
She addressed critics in a tweet on Monday, asserting that people “mitigate risks by taking proper precautions,” as South Dakota’s leaders recommended.
“There is a risk with everything that we do in life; more South Dakotans have died from accidental injuries than from [COVID-19] in the past 5 months,” the governor tweeted.
As of Wednesday, that state’s Department of Health reported that 9,815 people had tested positive for the virus statewide. More than 8,600 have already recovered and fewer than 1,000 were ever hospitalized.
Only 59 individuals in the state were confined to a hospital bed at the time of the latest report.
“Continue getting back to normal”
To be sure, some of the state’s 884,000 residents have contracted the virus and become ill — including 147 who tragically died as a result.
Noem, however, bucked the trend followed by many other governors by reopening businesses much earlier. Meanwhile, the state saw significantly lower levels of infection than in most other states.
“We take precautions when we get in our cars, when we operate farm equipment, and when we make choices about what we eat and how much we exercise. The same should be true about life as we continue getting back to normal,” she tweeted.
Last month, she appeared on the Fox News Channel and called her state’s response “remarkable because we gave people their freedom.”
While South Dakota cannot be the template for more heavily populated areas of the country, its example does show that basic safety tips and a sense of personal responsibility are among the proven methods of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.