By Roger Minch | Fargo

The Forum’s Dec. 30 article “Kristi Noem’s big bet” charges that the South Dakota governor gambled by leaving it up to the people of South Dakota to address COVID-19 with no statewide restrictions or lockdowns. The article concedes that summer passed and no surge materialized and that the state’s economy has “thrived” especially compared to other states. But the article says the virus has now “pummeled the state for months” and mostly focuses on the governor’s support for President Trump and the national attention she has cultivated and received.

Only near the end does the article gratuitously concede that the COVID-19 surge in South Dakota appears to have peaked in late November. The South Dakota Department of Health statistics show that total active COVID-19 cases have dropped by about two-thirds in South Dakota since the November peak and are now approaching last summer’s levels.

Kiplinger Alerts suggested last Nov. 25 that parts of South Dakota and North Dakota may be approaching a key threshold for herd immunity. Dr. Harvey A. Risch, MD, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, said the same on Dec. 29 on national television.

Whether Governor Noem’s gamble has been a good one will also best be left up to the people of South Dakota at the next election.

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