Blue Heron in flight

Friday, April 3, 2020

The storm is coming

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem doesn't want her citizens to get too worked up about the Corona virus. "South Dakota is not New York City," she said at a Wednesday news conference.
"The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety," Noem said. "They are the ones that are entrusted with expansive freedoms. They're free to exercise their rights to work, to worship, and to play. Or to even stay at home, or to conduct social distancing."
"Our sense of personal responsibility, our resiliency and our already sparse population density put us in a great position," she said, "to manage the spread of this virus without needing to resort to some of the measures that we've seen in some of these major cities, coastal cities and in other countries."
Famous last words? I am not a doctor, a governor or even an epidemiologist. But I think she is making a big mistake. They seem very ill prepared. The state health lab already ran out of test kits last week. Read this article, Virus spreads through South Dakota family's close ties. And consider the point made by the experts in this story. Rural populations may even be more at risk. Something about reading this struck me.There may be less people in rural America but they have a history of heavily relying on each other. And that could prove to be a real problem with this pandemic.
Gov. Kristi Noem on Wednesday said the state's sparse population would slow the spread of the virus, factoring into her plans to not issue stay-at-home orders and instead to rely on voluntary compliance with recommendations to halt group gatherings. But Caterina Scoglio, a professor at Kansas State University who studies how viruses spread through rural communities, said small towns can have unique vulnerabilities that cities don't have.“In rural areas, there are normally fewer contacts with people but those contacts are based on strong ties,” she said.That's why health care workers in South Dakota are emphasizing that family members should help each other by staying apartIt's counterintuitive for some people, said Misty Rudebusch, a physician's assistant who runs a clinic in the town of Howard.“We have generations of families that make those communities," she said. “Everyone learns to rely on their neighbor.”
I hope that these people don't learn the hard way. But they just don't seem to get it.


Anonymous said...

Rural people like those in South Dakota 'have a history of relying on each other'? You don't know much about the people in the Upper Plains, do you? They'll help a neighbor out in a time of need without a question but these are some of the most fiercely independent and self sufficient people in the country. It doesn't surprise me one bit that you'd be so far off the mark - these are not the only group of people you get so wrong.

Blue Heron said...

I hope you are right. I spent a lot of time in South Dakota, it just so happens. My ex's family homesteaded in Clark, near Watertown. And the reliance point was not something I made up, if you read the link it was a Kansas professor. Self sufficiency is well and good, but it might not be tough enough to beat a deadly microbe as the family in the story found out. Finally, sign your post or don't comment. I am happy to give you anonymity but that is the way it works.

Scrota Voce said...

Tiny proportion of the population are going to be iced in this mayhem, same as the seasonal flu. Tiny proportion are going to make a big fat buck selling sanitizer, masks and floor signs telling you what 6 feet is, just like the poster makers in the 60s telling you how bad war is [War, huh, what the %#@*^$ good is it...absolutely nuthin! Say it again!]

Edwin Starr

Blue Heron said...

We won't miss them. They were mostly taking up space.