South Dakota reached another all-time high for active COVID-19 infections on Wednesday at 2,875, while the state Department of Health confirms 169 residents — including four from Hughes County — have died from the disease.

At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed more than 184,000 American deaths attributed to the disease as of Wednesday, along with more than 6 million total coronavirus cases since tracking began early this year.

And despite criticism from many, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, President Donald Trump said the federal government’s response to COVID-19 has been sound.

“We’ve done a great job on COVID, but we don’t get the credit,” Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham during an interview that originally aired Monday evening.

“We’ve worked through the governors. The governors have gotten everything they wanted,” the president continued, speaking specifically of ventilators that many requested for COVID patients.

Trump at times has referred to the disease as:

the “China virus,”

the “Wuhan virus,” and

even the “kung flu.”

During his interview with Ingraham, Trump continued to blame China for the problems in the U.S.

“It wasn’t the people’s fault that China gave us this virus. China gave us the virus, whether it was through incompetence or on purpose,” Trump said.

Trump also said that a vaccine should be available “very soon.”

Ingraham also asked Trump about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Fauci is one of the key figures in the federal government’s response to COVID-19.

“I like him. I don’t agree with him that often, but I like him,” Trump said of Fauci.

Biden Meanwhile, during a Monday speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, questioned why American’s should feel safe with Trump in office.

“I want a safe America — safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops. And let’s be crystal clear: Safe from four more years of Donald Trump,” Biden said in Pittsburgh.

Two weeks ago during the Democratic National Convention, Biden also said he would implement a national mask mandate. Trump and Gov. Kristi Noem have strongly opposed such a stringent step.

“President Trump has failed to address COVID-19 — and now our students and educators are paying the price,” Biden added via Twitter on Wednesday. “We all want students back in the classroom, but President Trump hasn’t done the work to make sure schools can reopen safely and effectively.”

Despite Biden’s assertions, K-12 schools in South Dakota are up and running.

South Dakota Situation

As of Monday, there were 114 K-12 schools in South Dakota with at least one infection for a total of 195 infections in those schools. Some schools have more than one infection, with 20 schools having at least three.

Just last week, the total number for infections in South Dakota K-12 schools was 70.

The new total of 195 infections is further detailed with students and staff members. Staff members include teachers, principals, secretaries, janitors and anyone else who works at the school. Monday, there were 138 students infected, along with 57 staff members.

“I would again encourage all community members to take the personal responsibility to limit exposure and keep our case numbers as low as possible,” Pierre School District Superintendent Kelly Glodt reminded residents earlier this week.

Also, the South Dakota Department of Health now shows 552 infections on 15 college campuses across the state. State health officials said 518 of these infections were among students, with the remaining 34 among staff members.

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