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Noem Weekly Column: During This Time of Uncertainty, Remember to Reflect

March 27, 2020

During This Time of Uncertainty, Remember to Reflect 

By Governor Kristi Noem 
March 27, 2020


For weeks, we’ve all been glued to the news searching for updates about COVID-19. Since March 10, 2020, I have provided almost daily updates about the science, data, and facts that are informing my decision-making, not just on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes on an hour-by-hour basis. Our team is doing its absolute best, and our best is very good. 


It’s important to remember, this is not an ancient plague – we have the knowledge and the resources of modern medicine that give us the tools to defeat this, as we have so many other illnesses that we’ve dealt with in the past from polio to flu. Rest assured that we will do so.


Earlier this week, I addressed the people of South Dakota, not as my bosses, but as my neighbors. I asked each and every one of you to pause and to take a step back. Let me tell you why.


One of my staffers was recently trying to pick up groceries. She asked the cashier when she went through the line how she was doing, and unprompted, this woman got very emotional. She started to get tears in her eyes, and she said, “I’m really scared.” Then for several minutes, the cashier outlined all of her fears and what was keeping her awake at night.


I understand that. I’ve heard from many of you myself – from my family, my friends, and some total strangers – who feel exactly the same way. I’ve spoken about how we’re in this for the long-haul. For South Dakota, we expect this to take many, many weeks – perhaps even months – to run its course.


I have state employees who are – quite literally – working around the clock. I recently had a young man who passed out in the middle of a meeting from dehydration. He is doing well now, after some much needed rest.  


But I share that with you because what you need to know is that the folks who are helping me – the faceless state employees, who are doing everything they can to get information to you, to help those who have questions, who need guidance about what kind of resources there are or how they can help people, they are working 60, 70, and 80 hours a week. The same is true for EMS workers, hospital workers, and many volunteers in your communities.


Friends and neighbors may be sick. Family members may be worried about how their bills are going to be paid this month, how they’re going to put food on the table, and how they’re going to keep a roof over their head, if this continues much longer.


So my message to you is please take time to press pause. Put down your smartphones, turn off your TVs, maybe go for a walk. Spend time with your family. Call a loved one. Just take a break. Focus on the good things that you have in your life - the blessings. Reflect with gratitude on how fortunate we are in this country to live in the modern world. A threat like this can break us down – or it can make us truly appreciate the many blessings that we do have.


If there’s anything that we all can rally around today, it’s that we all have a common enemy – and that’s this virus.


It’s okay to be uncertain at times. But at the same time, we can also pour ourselves into our families, into our neighbors, and into our communities. People are afraid, and they’re worried. And some may be losing hope. But my message to you is hang in there. We will get through this, and we will persevere.


So, even if it’s just for a little bit, would you please consider taking a step back. Press pause. Go for a walk. Just be quiet for a little bit, and really reflect on the good things that we do have.


My hope is that, despite this situation, we all find a way to allow this to help bring us all together. To remind us of what is truly important in life. To remind us of three things: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.