Many readers of this blog have, no doubt, heard that the USA’s number one hot spot for new coronavirus cases is in the city I live in; Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Cases went from a minuscule number to over 1000 in our county in just a few days. The cause is known. Our city hosts a huge pork processing plant owned by Smithfield Foods, a huge pork producing company. I’ve heard one report that the pork plant in our city produces 4-5% of all pork products consumed in the entire USA.
Like all areas of the nation, our city’s people have been urged to “shelter in place,” avoid crowds of more than ten people, practice social distancing and it is now very common to see local citizens (including me) wearing some type of facial mask whenever we leave our homes. We were keeping our coronavirus numbers quite low until the Smithfield plant started producing many hundreds of new cases among their workers within a few days. Their workers, of course, then exposed their families, relatives, and others they did business with to the coronavirus. Cases are now appearing in a widening number of local businesses, nursing homes, daycare centers, etc. Our state government’s health department is conducting rigorous “contact tracing” to locate and test everyone who has come into contact with infected workers from the pork plant. This effort is locating hundreds, more cases and all positive cases are being quarantined at home. Those with severe cases are being hospitalized, but they are relatively few in number (more on that later).
It is somewhat odd and disquieting to watch the national TV news and peruse major websites and see updates about the major coronavirus outbreak in my city. There are no facilities or businesses in my city that have anywhere near the infection numbers at the pork plant, but one of the larger secondary totals (eight cases) is at a nursing home campus which is, literally, across the street from where I live. This fact is bringing the coronavirus pandemic a lot “closer to home” to me in more ways than one. I’ll share some of the major media stories about our local pandemic outbreak, but there are so many on the national and international media they are easy to find via a web search. The first two links are from the New York Times and USA Today. The USA Today article focuses on the fact that the only two hot spots in the entire USA that are even close to the Sioux Falls outbreak totals. These two cases are the infection levels on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier now moored in Guam and the Cook County (Chicago) jail system, and the New York Times article focuses on the fact that so many of the employees at this plant are immigrants from other nations. One local media report indicated that 80 different languages are spoken at the plant and that there is a huge need for interpreters. It has also become apparent that the pork plant’s managers did not take adequate measures to practice “social distancing” among its workers in the plant so it is hardly surprising the virus cases spread like wildfire.
The third link is based on a press conference by South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, who is one of the few governors in the USA to not impose a “lockdown” order on our state. The link has a chart showing why. The vast majority of counties in our state have 0-4 cases, so much of our state has almost no exposure to the coronavirus at all. An investigative team from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) toured the Smithfield plant yesterday with state government officials and we are waiting to hear what recommendations the CDC has for necessary changes in the physical configuration of the plant before it can re-open. The link also had a chart that documents why Governor Noem has not had to impose a state-wide lock-down order. Even though the number of cases has skyrocketed, the number of hospitalizations and deaths, from this pandemic, in our state, are unusually low. We have only 46 people in hospitals from COVID-19 throughout the entire state and only seven people have died from it from January 1 through yesterday. Indeed, only 55 people have needed hospitalization due to this virus in this calendar year. Our serious case numbers are some of the lowest in the entire USA of any state. Many people who live in urban states have little realization of how low the population density is in rural states like South Dakota. I grew up in a rural county and it was not unusual to drive miles on a rural oil road and not meet a single car. “Social distancing” is largely the norm for most people in this state in regular times.
Our governor has taken massive criticism from the leftist media for not imposing a lock-down on the entire state, but to her credit, she is a civil libertarian and a Constitutionalist who does not want to take away people’s Constitutional rights. A popular Fox News host, Laura Ingraham, conducted a live interview with our governor the other night on her show and I’ve included that interview as the fourth link. For the record, I support her actions. She is currently awaiting the report from the CDC regarding the extent of the problem and how to fix it (fifth link). The sixth link has a very interesting tally of the number of deaths in all fifty American states. If you scroll down far enough, you will see that despite our currently being the “number one hot spot” for the pandemic, our state has fewer deaths from the coronavirus that all other states except Wyoming. Indeed,our state’s death total for the last three and one-half months likely equals the death toll being experienced by New York every five minutes! I’m sure many readers have seen all kinds of “scientific” modeling about how horrendous the coronavirus infections and deaths will be in nations and states. These model projections have proven to be wildly inaccurate on the high side. Keep our super low death and hospitalization rates in mind as your read the seventh link, which is about a wildly inaccurate model from a short time ago regarding how badly our State would be affected by the pandemic. That link’s wildly inaccurate projections confirm that many “scientific” modeling projections are not very “scientific” at all.
There is another factor about South Dakota’s response to this pandemic that is unique among American states. The anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, has shown very good results in successfully treating this coronavirus in many locations throughout the world. Our Governor, Kristi Noem, apparently in cooperation with the White House, has imported enough doses of this drug to treat up to 100,000 South Dakotans if that many actually became infected with the virus (eighth link). South Dakota has made it a state policy to offer this drug whenever people get sick from COVID 19. If the test proves successful, it may be implemented by all other states and perhaps foreign nations as the treatment of choice for COVID 19. If this drug is successful on a state-wide scale, it will render the hasty actions to develop a vaccination rather moot. I do request that readers of this post pray for the safety of my daughter and me. We regularly pray for God’s protections promised in Psalm 91 as the fact that known cases of the coronavirus are present in a facility across the street from our house is disconcerting.
Matthew 24:3-8 foretells that pestilences will be a sign of the times that will exist on earth just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. The coronavirus pandemic certainly acts to fulfill that prophecy. For abundant proof that we are living in the latter days prophesied to occur before Jesus’s return, please read my article, Are We Living in the Biblical “Latter Days”?
One last thought. The final link affirms that Smithfield Foods, the company which operates the pork plant in Sioux Falls that is responsible for our local coronavirus outbreak, is owned by a Chinese company and is, therefore, subject to the control and directives of the Chinese Communist Party. China is where this coronavirus plague began, and that nation tried to hide how contagious and dangerous it was when it was initially spreading. China’s decisions allowed the pestilence to spread globally. I do not find these facts at all comforting.