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ICYMI: Press Herald Editorial Board Says South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem “Has No Business” Telling Maine How to Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic

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At a Maine campaign event for President Trump on Wednesday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem had the audacity to take shots at Gov. Janet Mills’ COVID-19 response, accusing Gov. Mills of “overstepping her authority.”

During the event, Noem proudly proclaimed that she made “very different decisions” in South Dakota. She sure did – Noem is presiding over one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world, while Maine has maintained one of the country’s lowest infection rates for the last several months under Gov. Mills’ steady leadership.

The Maine Press Herald slammed Noem for going after Gov. Mills, saying “she has no business telling Maine how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.”

While Gov. Mills has embraced science and followed the lead of public health experts, Noem has done the opposite – refusing to listen to science and implement any COVID-19 safety measures, and outright trying to discredit public health experts. Noem even recently wrote an op-ed about masks that was so incorrect and dangerous that a local paper refused to publish it.

The results speak for themselves: “South Dakota has recorded almost as many new cases in the last seven days (6,273) as Maine has had in the last seven months (6,387).”

Read the scathing editorial below.

Press Herald: Our View: Maine needs no advice about COVID from South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem may be a rock star in Republican politics, but she has no business telling Maine how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Under her reckless leadership, South Dakota is home to one of the world’s worst outbreaks. Noem does not believe in public health orders that have been proven to reduce the spread of the virus. As a result, South Dakota has recorded almost as many new cases in the last seven days (6,273) as Maine has had in the last seven months (6,387).

But a day after nearly 1,000 South Dakotans tested positive for coronavirus, Noem found time to visit Maine on Wednesday, to campaign for President Trump and take a few shots at Gov. Janet Mills.

“I made very different decisions than the governor here in Maine,” Noem said at a Team Trump bus tour rally in Bangor. “I would remind (Gov. Mills) that she overstepped her authority. Governors do not have the authority to put in the mandates that she did.”

Maine does not need any advice from Gov. Noem, but Mainers can learn a lot from the example of South Dakota. We are both rural states with small populations and a culture of outdoor recreation.

That has not been able to spare South Dakota from the pandemic, however. Although cases stayed low through the spring and summer, they have since exploded, going from a seven-day average of about 100 new cases a day in mid-August to nearly 1,000 cases a day this week. These numbers are not caused by an increase in testing: South Dakota’s new cases are coming in twice as fast as its additional tests. And the tests are coming back positive 43 percent of the time, indicating that the state is not testing enough people to assess how far the virus has spread.

In Maine the positivity rate is less than 1 percent, but that should not make us smug. What happened in South Dakota could happen here if we don’t remain vigilant about controlling the virus’s spread.


What Gov. Mills gets right (and South Dakota’s governor gets wrong) is that fighting COVID is a matter not of limiting individual freedom, but a matter of social responsibility. As long as this virus circulates, it’s up to each of us to protect the people around us by being careful.

With lives at stake, small sacrifices such as avoiding crowds, wearing a mask in public, maintaining safe distances and washing our hands is not too much too ask.