FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2010 file photo, Rep.-elect Kristi Noem, R-S.D., speaks at Landmark Aviation in Sioux Falls, S.D. Many Republicans who swept rural Democrats out of office in this month’s elections now confront a harsh reality of their promises to reduce government spending: whether to cut the farm subsidies that bring money and jobs to their districts _ and even their own bank accounts. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers, File)
There appears to be a wide range of opinion on how we should be handling the pandemic, from absolute quarantine to “let’s get back to work and let the chips fall where they may.”
While most governmental leaders in the U.S. are imposing lockdowns of one sort or another, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem is refusing to shut down South Dakota.
At a press conference Wednesday, Kristi eschewed a one-size-fits-all approach to the pandemic.
During this present viral threat, she’s interested in a specific kind of protection — that of individual rights:
“Our Constitution ensures the citizen’s right is protected. I agree with the role of our government as set forth in our state and in our national constitution. I took an oath to uphold these constitutions.”
She’s interested in public safety, AKA people’s responsibility:
“My role with respect to public safety is something I take very seriously. The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety. They are the ones that are entrusted with expansive freedoms – they’re free to exercise their rights to work, to worship, and to play – or to even stay at home, or to conduct social distancing.”
That’s quite a novel take among many in her position.
Kristi down “draconian measures” and championed good hygiene, hand-washing, and maintaining social distance. She also called what she’s doing “leadership,” as opposed to something very different:
“The calls to apply a one-size-fits all approach to this problem in South Dakota is herd mentality, not leadership.”
Important to note are the COVID-19 stats in South Dakota. By way of comparison, at the time of this writing, hotbed New York City has had 130,689 total cases, with a death rate per million people of 243. South Dakota’s seen 288 cases total, with a rate of fatality per million of 5.
That’s quite a contrast, which certainly goes some distance in bolstering her anti-one-size-fits-all way of thinking.
“South Dakota is not New York City,” the governor said. “And our sense of personal responsibility, our resiliency, and our already-sparse population density put us in a great position to manage the spread of this virus without needing to resort to some of the measures that we’ve seen in some of these major cities, coastal cities, and in other countries.”
She further explained:
“My responsibility is to respect the rights of people, and the people who elected me. To manage our state operations in a way that reflects the realities of what we have here on the ground in our state. On the foundation of my principles, commonsense conservative values, and the principles that we hold dear in America, the facts, the science, and the data will guide our decision-making here in South Dakota.”
Kristi’s comments, as well as her use of the word “herd,” reminds me of something I saw on “herd immunity.”
Here’s a bit more about that concept, from Massachusetts’s South Shore Health Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. Todd Ellerin, courtesy of ABC News:
“What stops a virus, what breaks the chain, is if enough people get infected and those people develop immunity. In fact, if enough people get infected, the virus can’t replicate in that host. … If you have immunity, you can’t get infected because the antibodies swarm like an army.”
“Herd immunity,” the article indicated, “would mean that enough people have an exposure that then protects people who either would be at high risk or can’t get vaccinated once one is approved.”
At the time of ABC’s report, however, it was noted that there’s too much left to learn about COVID-19 in order to properly discern how herd immunity may or may not work.
It’s an interesting topic. Forbes recently ran a piece titled “Caught Between Herd Immunity And National Lockdown, The Netherlands Hit Hard By Covid-19.”
All things considered, what do you think of Washington’s guidelines so far? And what’s your opinion of Gov. Kristi Noem’s stance? How about your own state’s?
Let us all know in the Comments section.
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