Noem has become the target of establishment media and Democrat politicians for her approach to the pandemic. South Dakota was the only state which never required any businesses or churches to shut down, never imposed a lockdown or a mask mandate, and avoided classifying businesses into essential and non-essential categories.
“COVID didn’t crush the economy. Government crushed the economy,” Noem announced, drawing applause from the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“Just as quickly, the government turned around and held itself out as the savior, and frankly the Treasury Department can’t print money fast to keep up with Congress’s wishes. But not everyone has followed this path,” she went on.
Noem is among some governors, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), who have opposed the national and global approach of imposing severe lockdowns on the populace to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, generally recognized as COVID-19. The lockdowns ended in an economic collapse, paring back the gains made throughout the Trump administration.
There is no historical precedent or controlled trials to support the reasons for lockdowns and arguments over their effectiveness have largely been split along political lines. Former President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked Democrat governors and mayors for using the lockdowns to snuff out the economic boom set in motion by his low-tax, deregulation agenda.
Noem explained that Anthony Fauci, one of the head members of Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force, told her that South Dakota’s hospitals would be treating 10,000 patients at the worst point of the pandemic. She stated the number was actually 600 patients at the worst point.
“I don’t know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot,” Noem announced, drawing loud cheers from the audience.
“Even in a pandemic, public health policy needs to take into account people’s economic and social well-being,” she continued. “People need to keep a roof over their heads, they need to feed their families, and they need their dignity.”
“In my administration, we resisted the call for virus control at the expense of everything else. We looked at the science, the data, and the facts, and then we took a balanced approach.”
Noem stated that as a result, South Dakota now has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and that the state’s economy is growing.
Notwithstanding sidestepping lockdowns, South Dakota had fewer COVID-19 cases per million people over the past 30 days than some of the biggest lockdown states, including California, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.