As we reported earlier this week, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that was held the first week of August in South Dakota has now been dubbed a “superspreader event”, with over 267,000 infected across the country, accounting for 20% of all new COVID-19 cases in America. Costs to treat the patients affected by the outbreak will exceed over $12.2 billion.
But don’t tell that to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who apparently has chosen to serve out her term with her head in the sand. Not only did Noem deny the new study regarding Sturgis, but she also dismissed it as ‘fiction‘:
“This report isn’t science; it’s fiction. Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis,” said Gov. Noem in a press release Tuesday. “Predictably, some in the media breathlessly report on this non peer-reviewed model, built on incredibly faulty assumptions that do not reflect the actual facts and data here in South Dakota.”
Now Noem is blatantly redirecting her state’s COVID-19 relief funds for tourism ads.
Noem spent $5 million on one tourism ad and has plans to redirect all $400 million of the remaining funds to continue to promote visitation to her state. Noem also received criticism after she invited the Trump campaign to hold a July 4th event at Mount Rushmore, where attendees were not required to wear masks or observe any social distancing protocols if they did not wish to.
While no significant outbreaks were connected to the July 4th event, the same cannot be said for Sturgis. And yet Noem tweeted her justifications on Wednesday afternoon.
South Dakota is in a good spot as we rebound from #COVID19, but some of our small businesses were still hurt by this pandemic.
Today, I proposed a framework for up to $400 million in small business grants from South Dakota's Coronavirus Relief Funds. (THREAD 1/)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 9, 2020
As usual, Twitter users were more educated about the virus than any elected member of the GOP.