The governor of South Dakota is determined not to take any action to restrict individuals’ freedom of movement, like telling them to stay home, closing gatherings, or imposing any limits on freedom of action. Meanwhile the giant Smithfield pork processing plant has closed down because of the spread of the virus, and Sioux City has become a “hot spot.” But the Governor has a plan that she has worked out with Jared Kushner.

As governors across the country fell into line in recent weeks, South Dakota’s top elected leader stood firm: There would be no statewide order to stay home.
Such edicts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Kristi L. Noem said disparagingly, reflected a “herd mentality.” It was up to individuals — not government — to decide whether “to exercise their right to work, to worship and to play. Or to even stay at home.”


And besides, the first-term Republican told reporters at a briefing this month, “South Dakota is not New York City.”


But now South Dakota is home to one of the largest single coronavirus clusters anywhere in the United States, with more than 300 workers at a giant ­pork-processing plant falling ill. With the case numbers continuing to spike, the company was forced to announce the indefinite closure of the facility Sunday, threatening the U.S. food supply.


Increasingly exasperated local leaders, public health experts and front-line medical workers begged Noem to intervene Monday with a more aggressive state response.
“A shelter-in-place order is needed now. It is needed today,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, whose city is at the center of South Dakota’s outbreak and who has had to improvise with voluntary recommendations in the absence of statewide action.
But the governor continued to resist.

Instead, she used a media briefing Monday to announce trials of a drug that President Trump has repeatedly touted as a potential breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus, despite a lack of scientific evidence.
“It’s an exciting day,” she boasted, repeatedly citing her conversations with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.