Professor looks at pandemic numbers in South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -For the first time in weeks, Governor Kristi Noem gave an update Wednesday on the coronavirus outbreak in South Dakota.
Governor Noem took issue with claims that no mask mandate is the reason for the surge of cases in South Dakota. She also refuted reports that indicate the state is in a dire situation. Noem says the state is “doing well,” statistically, but those claims have surprised some people.
At the press conference Governor Noem encouraged people to check the data for themselves.
“Look at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. There you’ll see there are other states with far higher new confirmed cases for 1,000 people compared to South Dakota. I’d encourage you to look at our mortality rate over the course of the pandemic,” said Gov. Noem.
Bonny Specker routinely looks at the numbers. She is an SDSU professor and epidemiologist in training, which is someone who investigates patterns and causes of diseases like COVID-19.
Here’s how she believes South Dakota is doing right now based on the numbers. She says the state has a high test positivity rate.
“Right now, we are at 50 some percent in South Dakota if you use the people tested. If you use the total number of tests done I think we are at ... upper 20s,” said Specker.
She says an ideal rate is 3 to 5 percent according the the World Health Organization.
“I think our best statistic is probably total death rate from the very beginning, but that’s because we are still relatively early in this outbreak,” said Specker.
Specker says the data can be confusing to read especially on Johns Hopkins as there are a lot of different statistics and ways to measure the information. So she recommends using trusted resources backed by data like the CDC and the South Dakota Department of Health to get information.
If you decide to do your own research, she says to keep this in mind:
“When you’re looking at case number or the rate of cases per population size, you want to look at more than just one day because day-by day information is so highly variable,” said Specker.
She says It’s better to look at a 7-day running average to see how things are going currently. Or you can measure the data from when the pandemic first started to now.
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