At some point, we have to shed our optimism and get realistic about where we are at with the COVID-19 pandemic in the state of South Dakota.

Things are really bad in South Dakota right now from COVID-19 and the concerning part is there's no end in sight.

This isn't fear-mongering, it is the hard truth about a situation that isn't getting better, but only getting worse.

I know so many people who have been infected by the virus, including myself and my family and currently I have family fighting for their lives as they battle COVID-19.

It is inconceivable to me that in the United States of America that we have let it get this bad and specifically in South Dakota the negligence of so many is simply sad.

You can see it is getting bad when both Avera and Sanford have decided to pause elective surgeries again so they can redirect staff to help out COVID-19 situations.

You can see it is getting bad when schools have had to shut down and school boards across the state have had to go backward in regards to protocols rather than moving forward.

You can see it is getting bad when businesses are not allowing customers in their stores and going back to drive-thrus, curbside, and virtual ways to do business.

Those things are all happening in the state of South Dakota right now!

No one should be clamoring for lockdowns, but we should be clamoring for mask mandates, social distancing protocols, and overall more empathy from every single person in our state.

Many have taken the stance that "I'm OK" or "my family is OK" or "It's just like the flu" and they have decided others' safety isn't as important as their own personal freedom which has proven to be inaccurate at every point.

Just to clarify as well, the COVID-19 pandemic has had over 210,000 deaths which is equal to the number of deaths we've seen in 5 flu seasons combined, so it is NOT like the flu.

Safety should always trump freedom during a pandemic but for whatever reason, empathy has been lost on so many.

I even had one former Avera hospital official in Sioux Falls told me that the COVID section of their hospital was a "shit show" this week.

Just in the state of South Dakota, we have had over 30,000 positive tests, 300 deaths and we are seeing new records daily in regards to infected people in South Dakota.

Minnehaha County is the most populated county in the state and it is no surprise the county has seen the most infections with over 8,500 testing positive with 876 positive tests on Wednesday alone.

We have seen a positivity rate of 45% in the state of South Dakota which is just absolute madness.

I have heard personal accounts of people who say they haven't got their kids tested because they don't want them missing school or activities, while others have told me they won't get tested because they don't want to miss work, which leads you to believe there are probably more positive cases out there.

Many are hoping for herd immunity as a savior for combatting the pandemic and although that is the hope for the long term, in the short term, the science and medicine don't line up for that to happen anytime soon.

A vaccine would go a long way in helping create "herd immunity" but to reach that, at least 60% of the US population would need to be exposed according to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and right now the US has only 10% of the population that is expected to be exposed to far.

I personally hope we get to herd immunity soon, I hope we have the positive numbers go down day by day, I hope I see more empathy from my fellow South Dakotan's and I hope we get out of this pandemic ASAP.

Even though we all hope for a lot of those things if the folks in this state don't take "personal responsibility", it doesn't seem like any of those things will be happening any time soon.

Instead, my guess is we continue to see high numbers, more restrictions from local schools and businesses, and until it affects those who are the most abrasive to the idea of choosing safety over freedoms, we may be in store for a long winter in South Dakota.

My heart hurts for all the medical professionals who are fighting this virus, all the businesses that have been negatively affected, and especially my heart hurts for all those who have lost loved ones from COVID-19.

Please don't be negligent, wear a mask, social distance, get tested, and make sure to show you can have empathy during a tough situation for all of us.

This all sucks and I can't wait until there is a day when this is all over and normalcy is the norm and the norm is not a deadly pandemic affecting the United States and our great state of South Dakota.


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