COVID Denial in the Dakotas: Part 1 (COVID-19 Series)
By admin November 17, 2020

COVID Denial: Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally To Be Held Amid Coronavirus Pandemic : News Photo

(Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

The biggest challenge we face with COVID-19 is not just a public health challenge, it’s deconstructing the fatal “mass denial”, disinformation and conspiracy theories that have been been carefully constructed by right-wing media and politicians.


Take South Dakota. The “Mount Rushmore” state has one of the highest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the world. In August, state hosted the Sturgis Bike Rally which led to the massive outbreak of over 266K COVID-19 cases and over $12.2B in public health costs. Even before the Rally, Gov. Kristi Noem has chosen to essentially double down on denial, reject science and do nothing (e.g. no mask mandate). Gov. Noem has gone even further in the last few days, stating that she will oppose any nationwide mask mandate and/or lockdowns put forward by the incoming Biden administration. This is the most pressing challenge for President-Elect Biden — how to compel denialist governors to do the right thing.


Sometimes, the people and the human stories get lost in all of the statistics. But, it’s just as important to look at what is happening in ER rooms and homes. A report yesterday captured the story of Jodi Doering, an ER nurse in South Dakota ,who said that she’s dealing with patients who “don’t want to believe that COVID19 is real”. Doering noted their last dying words: “This can’t be happening. It’s not real.” [They’re] facetiming families [and] they’re filled w/ anger and hatred.”


As USA Today notes, the “rates of infection and deaths per capita in South Dakota and previously restriction-free North Dakota are what Dr. Ali Mokdad would expect to see in a war-torn nation, not here. “How could we allow this in the United States to happen?” asked Mokdad, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. “This is unacceptable by any standards.”


“North Dakota’s COVID-19 death rates per capita in the past week are similar to those in the hardest-hit countries in the world right now – Belgium, the Czech Republic and Slovenia – according to New York Times data. That data as of Saturday also places South Dakota’s per capita deaths among the world’s highest rates.”


“And there’s nowhere in the U.S. where COVID-19 deaths are more common than in the Dakotas, according to data published by The COVID Tracking Project.


For the full article, click here.


COVID-19 is getting much worse in the U.S. and we could be entering a very dark winter if key measures aren’t implemented soon. Sadly, it looks like mass denial and the political divide will lead to a situation in which one half of the country is able to manage/contain COVID while the other half continues to experience rising infections and deaths — a controlled experiment with tragic consequences. Hopefully, the incoming Biden administration can convince the COVID deniers to wake up and do the right thing before it’s too late.


There are some key tools that President-Elect Biden can utilize in this regard. Stay tuned for more on the potential solutions (Part 2) to the denial.


EDITOR’S NOTE: To access TBG’s COVID-19 services and solutions, just just send an email. TBG maintains a Global Consultancy Network of 500+ experts in 150+ countries — providing innovative solutions at the local and global levels.

#southdakota#covid#covid19#coronavirus #health #publichealth

Thanks for sharing !

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