The world has had a rough few months. It’s easy to harp on the negatives, especially as infections and job losses continue to rise. Our country still needs to make substantial improvements in our response to this crisis, but we also should take time to focus on the positives — what we’ve gotten right.
First, I need to begin by saying thanks to South Dakotans. It didn’t take a forced stay at home order, you all took personal responsibility, stayed home, and flattened our curve. You’ve heard the phrase “South Dakota commonsense” a lot lately, but it rings true.
We have to remember; we are doing what we’ve never done before. In the last seven days, testing in the United States has increased by 28%. Moderna Therapeutics Clinical Trial announced this week that a vaccine candidate showed participants in the trial received antibodies to COVID-19. Moderna will begin Phase 3 of this trial in July for a potential vaccine. That’s the hope and the news we need.
More than 11.5 million tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the United States. Just yesterday, more than 400,000 tests were performed. This week, we saw the most tests ever reported in a single day – our response hasn’t been perfect, but we are making big progress.
As of May 15, the federal government has coordinated the delivery of 83.3 million N95 respirators, 133.7 million surgical masks, 10.6 million face shields, 23.1 million surgical gowns, and 989 million gloves.
More than 20,000 South Dakota businesses utilized the Paycheck Protection Program – keeping thousands on payroll. States throughout the country are beginning to enter opening phases. This is welcome news. I don’t want to sound tone deaf though, I know thousands of South Dakotans have lost jobs and are struggling to make ends meet, but there’s hope on the horizon.
Like I said, our efforts as a nation and as a government haven’t been perfect. But as we strive daily to improve our response, we should occasionally recognize the progress we’ve made so far. The efforts of so many researchers, health care workers, public health experts, and frontline employees have made a real difference in the lives of millions.