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COVID cases per 100,000 residents; South Dakota is higher than several larger states

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Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during a news conference at the State Capital in Pierre. Noem strongly opposes mask mandates and shelter-in-place orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

With nearly 11.7 million residents among Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and much smaller communities across the countryside, Ohio’s population is roughly 13 times that of South Dakota’s.

Furthermore, the Buckeye State features 282 people per square mile, compared to just 10.7 humans per square mile in South Dakota.

Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which operates as part President Donald Trump’s administration — Ohio has fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents than South Dakota does.

“We are seeing serious exposures to the virus that are arising from everyday events like church services, small house parties, neighborhood get-togethers, children’s sleepovers, weddings, and even bridal showers,” Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said upon issuing a statewide mask mandate on July 22.

“We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread,” DeWine added. “This virus is real, and we cannot let our guards down.”

This mandate led to several large protests at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, while some members of DeWine’s own political party are actively trying to impeach him for imposing the mask requirement.

Still, the CDC data seem to show DeWine’s mitigation efforts are working. On Friday, the federal agency showed that Ohio has 1,087 COVID infections for every 100,000 residents.

This compares to the CDC’s number of 1,625 coronavirus cases per 100,000 South Dakotans.

In addition to the mask requirement that remains in effect, DeWine also ordered a shelter-in-place that stood from March 23 to May 30.

In contrast, Gov. Kristi Noem has stood steadfastly in opposition to any such mandates or orders since she confirmed South Dakota’s first five COVID-19 cases on March 10.

The StatsAccording to the CDC, the national average for COVID cases per 100,000 people is 1,871, so South Dakota’s situation is better than the country’s, as a whole.

However, South Dakota’s neighbor to the southeast, Iowa, is exceeding the national average for infections per 100,000.

COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC:

Florida — 2,957

Texas — 2,179

Iowa — 2,128

National Average — 1,871

Nebraska — 1,838

North Dakota — 1,707


Wisconsin — 1,426

Minnesota — 1,407

Michigan — 1,154

Ohio — 1,087

Pennsylvania — 1,068

Montana — 753

Wyoming — 682

“The Consequences of Lockdowns”Below is Noem’s full statement she released on Thursday titled: “The Consequences of Lockdowns.”

“You’ve heard me say many times that South Dakota never closed. We allowed South Dakotans to make the best decisions for themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities. But we were unique in this path; other states made different choices.

In fact, in some places businesses have been closed for the past six months. How are small business owners supposed to make ends meet in states that have locked down their economies for six months straight?

This isn’t a hypothetical question to me. As a former small business owner, I’ve personally dealt with the struggles of keeping a business afloat. When my dad passed away, I had to take charge of our family’s farming operation. We struggled to balance paying our IRS bill with payroll and all the other expenses that are a regular part of running a small business. If we’d been forced to shut down for six months in the middle of it all, our business would not have made it.

That’s exactly what we’re seeing play out across the country. As a result of extended lockdowns, countless businesses are closing. In July, Yelp announced that more than 72,000 businesses on the site had closed for good since the start of the pandemic, and that was more a month ago. Retailers and restaurants have been hit especially hard.

These businesses are more than just storefronts – they’re people’s livelihoods. They put food on the table, not only for small business owners, but also for their employees. Without businesses to employ these workers, states that have been shut down will struggle to recover even after they reopen.

Here in South Dakota, because we didn’t shut down our state, the recovery story is far stronger. According to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, South Dakota had the fewest low-income job losses of any state in our region, and as of the end of June, we’d already recovered nearly all of those losses. Our weekly initial unemployment claims continue to drop. This is positive news coming into the Labor Day weekend.

Our tourism industry is rebounding strongly as well. South Dakota is the third best state in the country for domestic tourism bookings compared to the start of the pandemic. Interest in visiting South Dakota has surged, meaning we’ll continue to see friendly faces visiting our state in the weeks, months, and years to come.

We’re hearing from lots of folks interested in not only visiting South Dakota, but moving here full-time. If business owners are sick and tired of the lockdowns in other states, I want them to know that they have another option. They can come to South Dakota. We respect our people’s rights, and we won’t shut businesses down. We’re open for opportunity, and on my watch, we always will be.”

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