SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Data surrounding COVID-19 can be confusing. Though the virus was just discovered a year ago, there are dozens of sources with research on COVID-19.
Eric Feigl-Ding is an epidemiologist who grew up in South Dakota and is now also a Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. He is analyzing the data for South Dakota from multiple sources.
Feigl-Ding looked at data from Oxford. On Twitter, Feigl-Ding created a thread explaining how states with fewer restrictions are seeing higher cases per capita, as well as the highest hospitalization rate for coronavirus per capita.
He specifically called out South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem in a tweet saying:
“The worse overall in state level containment leadership consistently is South Dakota’s leadership under @govkristinoem, along with by Iowa and North Dakota, according to the data.”
Feigl-Ding grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, so he said seeing the state he has a connection to has really struck a chord with him.
“I think I take this a little bit more personally than most situations. Obviously, I’ve been following the coronavirus for quite a while. As an epidemiologist, it hurts me professionally that all this public health advice is being ignored. It also hurts me deeply personally because this is a place where I grew up,” Feigl-Ding said.
He went on to say that the science behind masks proves they work and is upset that Governor Noem did not emphasize that more in her latest briefing.
“She could have at the minimum recommended even if she did not mandate it, but now she’s spewing things that basically dismisses masks altogether. So it’s incredibly frustrating professionally as well as personally,” Feigl-Ding said.
When KELOLAND News asked what measures South Dakota would need to take to control its outbreak of COVID-19, Feigl-Ding said he would unfortunately recommend a lockdown. He said that time can’t be rewound and South Dakota would have to do severe restrictions including restricting travel and also telling people do not gather for the holidays.
“It is just too hot of an outbreak,” Feigl-Ding said.
“We have to go with really, really harsh measures right now because it’s gotten so out of control. But starting with mask mandate and enforcements for these mandates, and restrictions on gatherings, especially indoor gatherings,” Feigl-Ding said.
Feigl-Ding compared the COVID-19 outbreak to a zoo.
“If you had a zoo, and there is one stray lion or one stray tiny rattlesnake loose in the zoo, would you send your children to the zoo? Probably not. If you had a velociraptor roaming around Jurassic Park, people are not going to go to the park. And here’s the inherent thing, as long as the virus is roaming around in high numbers, people are not going to return to business as usual,” Feigl-Ding said.
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