Nothing much happens in South Dakota. It is a long way, in almost every sense, from the bright lights of New York, which was the epicentre of the spring coronavirus outbreak in North America. Now, however, the midwestern state, which was previously hailed for taking the ‘Swedish approach’ to coronavirus, is facing a virus rampaging out of control. So what went so badly wrong? And is there a lesson for the rest of us?
When the pandemic first hit the US, the ‘Plains States’, including South Dakota, escaped relatively lightly. On 15 April, coronavirus daily diagnoses in South Dakota peaked at 181. The daily death count topped out on 6 May when five people passed away. This time around, however, South Dakota has not been so fortunate.