Rural wisdom or foolishness? Mask-free US state takes the ...

Lifestyle

Rural wisdom or foolishness? Mask-free US state takes the Swedish route

Most South Dakotans are ready to forget about Covid-19, even as records are being set for the number of infections

Tom Lawrence

It is the best of states, it is the worst of states. While others shut down in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and mandated the closure of non-essential businesses, South Dakota has continued life much as it had before.

Some call it rural wisdom, while others condemn it as foolishness. Governor Kristi Noem, a first-term Republican and favourite of President Donald Trump, refused to order a statewide shutdown and has cast doubts about the need to wear masks. Instead, she has embarked on a campaign to attract new businesses and people to South Dakota.

Noem – who hosted Trump at Mount Rushmore on July 3, where few masks were worn for the fireworks show and rally – has been the target of fierce criticism from many medical professionals as well as people concerned about Covid-19 rates in the state...

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