Skip to comments.
If Leftist Media Were Honest, They’d Treat South Dakota’s COVID Wave Like New York’s
The Federalist ^
| Georgi Boorman
Posted on 12/28/2020 6:37:40 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Thousands of media headlines noted hospitalizations for COVID-19 in South Dakota recetly climbed sharply for several weeks. According to sources from the White House down to CNN and local press, it’s because Gov. Kristi Noem refused to institute COVID restrictions like masks, business shutdowns, and gathering limits.
“The state had nearly 2.5 times the national average in COVID-19 deaths per 100,000,” local press outlet Keloland reported in early December. Joel Shannon at USA Today wrote the Dakotas “are as bad as it gets anywhere in the world.” Accompanying headlines paint Noem as reckless and uncaring, since her grandmother died in a nursing home “hit by COVID” and she is still encouraging people to go shopping in person.
If left-leaning media were honest, though, they’d at least apply the lessons of New York, a state with a similar if not better health risk profile, to their coverage of South Dakota. They would give Noem the same lenient coverage they granted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the height of one of the steepest COVID waves in the world—which occurred even though he shut down as much of the state’s economic and social activity as he could.
In reality, South Dakota’s reported cases and hospitalizations have been, as of this writing, trending downward after peaking on November 10 at 702 hospitalizations per million. The state has seen 1,279 COVID-attributed deaths.
(South Dakota, accessed December 27)
Comparatively, New York’s per capita death rate stands at 188 per 100,000 and set the national record for most hospitalizations at 968 per million in April. These numbers should trigger at least a momentary break from the lockdown narrative to consider that perhaps high rates of COVID hospitalizations and deaths may have more to do with the health risk profiles of a state’s constituents, or other factors, than lockdown policies.
(New York, accessed December 27)
For context, South Dakota didn’t experience a major spring surge like Michigan or Washington DC, only a mild swell that brought total excess deaths to just barely pop over the baseline for a single week. What the state is experiencing now seems to be the major wave that computer models predicted but didn’t manifest until COVID’s regional season kicked in, not a “reliving” of a nightmare because the government hadn’t “learned its lesson.”
Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota are experiencing new waves as well. It’s also worth noting that the United States as a whole has been over the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) threshold for excess deaths for eight straight months, while South Dakota has exceeded it for about four. This entire time, South Dakota has pursued the same prudent policies that largely allow individuals and businesses to make their own health precautions as opposed to most states’ and countries’ use of forced masks and rolling shutdowns.
It may seem strange to compare such a sparsely populated state like South Dakota to a mega-metropolitan area like New York, but population density seems to be a weak predictor of COVID mortality and degree of urbanization only moderately predictive (see Figure 4 of this study). On the other hand, population risk factors that substantially increase COVID mortality are similarly prevalent in the two states. New York and South Dakota have the 26th and 24th highest percentages of seniors in the United States, respectively. As the CDC reports, eight out of ten reported COVID deaths are among people over the age of 65.
Percentages of elderly residents are approximately the same in the two states, even when broken down by decade (e.g. 65-74), according to data compiled by Stacker. Those between 65-74, 75-84, and older than 85 are at 90 times, 220 times, and 630 times higher risk for death with COVID than those under age 30, according to the CDC. The Mount Rushmore State ranked in the top 10 nationally for the number of residents older than age 85 in 2015, so the two states’ high percentages of deaths in long-term care facilities (25 percent for New York and 43 percent for South Dakota) make sense despite the vast difference in population size.
Perhaps if South Dakota were run by Democrats, journalists would spend less time ginning up hysteria and more time presenting such information that may provide context to South Dakota’s COVID numbers. Major factors besides age for COVID mortality are higher in South Dakota compared to New York, too.
For example, extreme obesity (a body-mass index over 40) doubles risk of COVID mortality, according to a study done by Kaiser Permanente researchers. South Dakota’s obesity rate is 20 percent higher than New York (33 percent to 27.1 percent). New York’s estimated rate of diabetes, a condition that can double or triple COVID mortality according to multiple studies, is slightly higher (10.5 percent to 9 percent), but the mortality rate for diabetes is almost 25 percent higher in South Dakota.
Cigarette use is also 39 percent higher in South Dakota (19 to 12.8 percent). Smoking is associated with “a nearly two-fold higher mortality rate” among COVID patients, according to a meta-analysis of available studies.
The states also have differing ethnic compositions, yet another factor that is difficult to sort out. None of this changes that New York’s COVID curve was a veritable cliff, and severe lockdown didn’t have any discernible impact on that curve.
Indeed, given the strong demographic similarities, the facts about lockdown are hard to ignore: New York managed to rank No. 2 in COVID death rates despite hard and repeated lockdowns, while Noem’s open state with limited city-based mask mandates currently sits at No. 4. While the Black Hills region is close to maxing out adult ICU capacity, the state’s other regions have plenty, and case and hospitalization curves have been trending downward without the “help” of business shutdowns, capacity caps, or gathering limits.
South Dakota’s infection curves match those of numerous other states and countries regardless of the level of lockdowns or the existence of mask mandates. It’s still possible that when this wave is over, South Dakota’s death rate could rival that of New York. But to assume New York’s curve would have been significantly higher if the Empire State had stayed open while also believing South Dakota’s curve would have been even lower if Noem had only locked down, despite a higher prevalence of risk factors, is tortured logic.
In short, lockdowns as the solution for any COVID situation is a belief held in spite of the evidence, rather than because of it. If the media were intellectually honest, they’d consider New York’s wave and give Noem the benefit of the doubt.
TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: New York; US: South Dakota
KEYWORDS: covid19; media; newyork; southdakota
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-20, 21 next last
I’ve had some recent fantasies about South Dakota seceding and becoming “New Texas”...a place where pioneers and freedom lovers can go.
Saving and cutting off existing Texas would be amazing, but not sure that is realistic.
So I went through the thought process: where is the least desirable real estate? What is a place that is defensible and if the cost were high enough for the left, that they would let it slip out of its empire?
I think it’s the Badlands.
South Dakota here we come! lol.
>> the same lenient coverage they granted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the height of one of the steepest COVID waves in the world—which occurred even though he shut down as much of the state’s economic and social activity as he could.
posted on 12/28/2020 6:56:20 AM PST
(Islam delenda est)
“The state had nearly 2.5 times the national average in COVID-19 deaths per 100,000,” local press outlet Keloland reported in early December.
South Dakota is very sparsely populated. So a relatively small number of incidents can skew percentages & rates. If your objective is fair and informative reporting a person might note this, or use a different metric. If your objective is to spin "the news" and support the leftist agenda, a person might use this mathematical property to their advantage...
They never will. SD suffered dramtically but allowed freedom, personal choice and science lead the way. Their cases are way down. Wonder why?
Belief in Personal responsibly ?
It’s a virus. A virus is gonna virus. (See California and their lockdown results).
posted on 12/28/2020 7:01:52 AM PST
(Democratic Socialism is Slavery by Mob Rule)
Be wary of the surge, spike, and wave hospitalization data. Much has appeared in FR about how liberal federal payments for treatment encourage hospitals to admit patients that they would not have admitted during other flu epidemics. Sometimes, they are admitted only for observation or for very mild symptoms. For example, former NJ governor Chris Christie.
posted on 12/28/2020 7:07:03 AM PST
(adical Islam, )
The MSM will NEVER be honest.
posted on 12/28/2020 7:08:49 AM PST
Noem can do what she is doing because South Dakotans support her freedom measures and aren’t full of fear.
NY is the opposite - its nearly full of government employees and welfare recipients who have been trained for generations now to look to the nanny state for all answers.
posted on 12/28/2020 7:10:57 AM PST
The state has seen 1,279 COVID-attributed deaths.
Alaska has 150,000 fewer people and we just reached 200 deaths. And we don't have a mask mandate either at the state level.
posted on 12/28/2020 8:00:05 AM PST
(In time of peace, prepare for war.)
“While the Black Hills region is close to maxing out adult ICU capacity, the state’s other regions have plenty, and case and hospitalization curves have been trending downward without the “help” of business shutdowns, capacity caps, or gathering limits.”
I’ve been to SD maybe 1/2 dozen times. I know there are Indian Reservations mostly in the north/central part of the state as well as the SW corner of the state. Perhaps most of the severe cases on the reservations would be transported to Rapid City for serious care. Would a Native
-American’s immune system be more susceptible to the virus that a white?
Or might the living conditions of the reservation and lifestyle/cultural choices be a major contributor?
No idea if so, but the hypothesis did occur to me.
posted on 12/28/2020 8:09:17 AM PST
by John Milner
(Marching for Peace is like breathing for food. )
The virus has not hit Alaska yet because it is so remote.
People, there is entirely too much time spent on ranting about lockdown vs no lockdown, or mask vs no mask.
Know The Numbers First. Simply that. Know what the excess deaths say. THEN decide on measures to take or not take.
We are well on the way, nationally, to having 25% more deaths of all causes (note all causes) March-March for 65+ people than in a normal, pre Covid year. Those are the numbers. Those are pure numbers. Not heart attacks called Covid death. Not old codgers living alone who die of Covid but never went to the doc or hospital or got tested.
One scenario overcounts. One scenario undercounts. Don’t obsess over it. Excess Deaths of all causes eliminates that issue.
So. 25% increase in deaths of your parents. Enough to take overall society life expectancy down a year or two.
Now decide what measures to take, if any.
posted on 12/28/2020 8:16:17 AM PST
It will be the last state invaded by fleeing democrats....Texas and Florida are next in line to fall...
In Florida there selling houses to the invaders faster than they can build them..
Went to the beach the other day and more out of state cars than locals...
posted on 12/28/2020 8:39:10 AM PST
We are well on the way, nationally, to having 25% more deaths of all causes (note all causes) March-March for 65+ people than in a normal, pre Covid year.
We can expect the death rate to trend upward as the huge bulge in baby boomers ages, even without the COVID virus. The issue is whether recent deaths after the virus appeared pushed deaths higher than what would be expected from the trend line before the virus. My educated guess is that it has not.
posted on 12/28/2020 9:05:20 AM PST
(adical Islam, )
Death total increased most years in the 2010s as the population Aged BUT the increase was modest. Never more than 3% year over year So anything like 15% year over year , let alone 25 as in the OP, (I think that will be a bit high) is fantastically out of line.
Doesn’t prove the best way to deal with it , but the all causes death total Shows that it isn’t just the flu.
You meant death total, not death rate, but your point is there will be more 65+ deaths because there will be more 65+ people.
About 1.7 million normal 65+ deaths occur each year. We’re going to add about 400K to that for this year.
10,000 people turn 65 each day. 3.65 million/yr. So yes, the 65+ cohort is growing.
Total 65+ people in the US — about 53 million, growing about 3.2%/yr (which includes deaths and turning 65)
A normal year’s deaths would be 1.7 million or 3.1% of the total.
So would the no Covid death total rise each year. Yes. Would the Covid death total also rise? One would think so. The virus has more targets to hit.
That would be the problem with saying more older people means the death total from Covid would be less than a 25% death increase. Covid would have more targets to hit, and generate more deaths.
posted on 12/28/2020 11:32:02 AM PST
Death total increased most years in the 2010s as the population Aged BUT the increase was modest. Never more than 3% year over year.
True; but that result reflects a straight trend line calculation, which underestimates the increasing marginal rate of deaths that can naturally expect to occur when a big component of the population (the aging baby boomer bulge) gets into it’s late 60’s, when health problems naturally escalate exponentially.
posted on 12/28/2020 11:51:48 AM PST
(adical Islam, )
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-20, 21 next last
Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual
posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its
management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the
exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson