The White House Says This State's COVID Spike Is "Deeply Concerning"

The Coronavirus Task Force recommends "aggressively" promoting face masks and social distancing.

For the past month, most parts of the U.S. have been able to celebrate a decline in coronavirus numbers. Even hard-hit states like Arizona, California, and Florida have been able to begin to wrangle the pandemic that wreaked havoc throughout the summer. But some states are just now seeing the worst of COVID for the first time—especially those in the Midwest. In fact, the White House is calling the COVID spike in South Dakota "deeply concerning."

According to a leaked report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force obtained by ABC News, the stark rise in newly reported COVID cases in South Dakota and a major shortage of testing has the nation's top medical experts alarmed. They warned local officials that recent data currently has South Dakota ranked second in the country for the rate of new cases (next to North Dakota) and is in the critical "red zone."

"Continued increasing case counts and remarkably high test positivity in the context of insufficient testing levels are deeply concerning," the White House report warned South Dakota. The experts suggest officials "aggressively promote social distancing and use of face coverings, particularly in indoor settings, statewide."

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South Dakota has come under fire since the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in mid-August, which has been linked to COVID cases in at least 12 states in recent weeks.

However, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has not issued a statewide mask mandate and is opposed to closing businesses. "There's consequences to what we've seen happen in other states—that shutting down businesses, stopping people's way of life has some devastating impacts," Noem told Fox & Friends on Sept. 9. "We're taking a very balanced approach."

Noem also resisted the claim that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was a superspreader event of epic proportions, calling the results of a recent study "back-of-the-napkin math."

According to the Argus Leader, Maggie Seidel, a top advisor to Noem, said: "We thought that we were going to have 10,000 people in the hospital and now this is deeply concerning? Now we're at about 2,400 active cases." And for more on when coronavirus could come roaring back again, check out This Is When Experts Say the Next COVID Surge Will Happen in the U.S.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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