This is the inevitable sequel to the column I wrote last month after the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) stopped holding regular press conferences, in whatever time intervals, to discuss all things COVID-19 with the media.

This week, the DOH has discontinued doing daily updates on its COVID-19 online dashboard, shifting instead to weekly summaries. This reflects the overall progress that has been made against the coronavirus through these many, many months.

For me, this will feel odd for a while. Going to that online portal every day to write a COVID update became so much a part of my work routine that it’s now almost hard to remember a time when it wasn’t there. This ritual awaited me every day when I came to the office, and I even used to do it at home on the weekends until those updates were halted a few months ago. Now, I face this weird vacuum. When I came into the office on Tuesday, it seemed like something was wrong. I still had plenty to do, mind you, but it simply felt like there was something ELSE I needed to do first.

I see the end of the daily COVID updates as both a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s good because it obviously shows great progress. When the pandemic started in March 2020, this became a very worrisome world, with COVID exploding everywhere and no effective way to deal with it. I dreaded looking at the numbers each day and seeing the upticks. These statistical updates commenced a journey through a dark, uncertain frontier.

The daily reports, coupled with me typing in the numbers for area counties onto a spreadsheet, eventually did something to me that I should have anticipated: It numbed me (at least to an extent) to what was going on. The rising numbers had less of an impact on me as the months and the uncertainty dragged on, at least for a while …

But then came the autumn, and that daily train of numbers gradually began taking on a harsh urgency as South Dakota’s cases started to surge. Infections mounted, then deaths spiked. This was the worst-case scenario that we had seen elsewhere now coming right at us. It became a grimly compelling spectacle as it unfolded day by day and death by death. It became an almost religious experience, in a way, as many days, I would see the new numbers and invoke the name of some religious figure in startled exclamation. Every morning, I wondered if it could get worse; for so many weeks, it did.

Our surge began subsiding just as the vaccines arrived, and with them came new, much more encouraging numbers in those daily updates. Things improved through the winter before sinking briefly in the spring, then it brightened again. Hope was everywhere, especially in those numbers.

And now, the need for daily updates has been deemed no longer necessary, and in that sense, I’m happy and relieved.

But — and here’s the part that bothers me — I’ve also come to realize that some of these changes in reporting are not necessarily driven solely by the state of the pandemic. As I noted in my previous column about the media briefings, the DOH enacted one of its reductions in the frequency of the briefings last fall just as the surge was beginning to pick up steam here. Now, the state has decided to reduce the daily briefings to just once a week at a seemingly quiet moment but just as the worries about the delta variant are growing. This also comes as vaccinations have slowed and we are nowhere near herd immunity. Things are better, but all is not completely well.

(South Dakota is offering at least weekly updates on the DOH’s online site, which is much different from Nebraska, which shut down its online portal altogether on July 1 with the end of the state COVID emergency. It’s still possible to get reports from regional health districts, but there is no centralized information from the state, or even a portal acknowledging a pandemic ever existed. An Associated Press story this week about rising case numbers in Nebraska cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not local sources.)

As for me, the daily ritual is over, for better and for worse, and while I am glad of it, I’m also not totally comforted by it. As I said previously, we can see the end of the pandemic in the not-too-far-off distance, but we can’t just glide toward the finish line. We still have work to do, whether we’re reminded of it with daily measures or not.

Follow @kelly_hertz on Twitter.

(39) comments

Grateful Dead

Despite the availability of effective vaccines, South Dakota is among those states with a rising number of Covid cases.

Trumpster science deniers like Abe and VoiceforAll offer up their unvaccinated bodies as petri dishes to allow this pathogen to mutate into more deadly varieties.

Thanks fellas. What a price we pay for your fealty to Trump.

Abe

Face these simple facts:

1) the printed material that is issued with these experimental injections plainly states that they do not prevent covid, but will hopefully alleviate symptoms.

2) the clinical trials for these highly questionable injections ends in 2023

3) until then, they are only to be "for Emergency use only" and not deemed safe by the FDA

4) why blow up the statistics when there's a 99%+ survival rate?

The covid problem is easily remedied by safe medications that have a track record of 60-70 years or more

You cannot continue this shameful fraud any longer. Get up and go back to life.

Abe

I'd like to be there when the EMF's crank up and your body starts to bounce and bloat like a bag of microwave popcorn.

Jolly Roger

The Covid Delta variant is already more efficient at spreading among the unvaccinated. If Trumpsters like VoiceforAll and Abe won’t believe the science, maybe they’ll believe the numbers.

COVID cases are already headed DOWN on a steeper curve in states with higher rates of vaccination than in those states that lag behind and are trending UP.

Watch the COVID trends fellas, and let’s see what the body count tells us.

Did you notice that Trump quietly got vaccinated, leaving you suckers to risk your lives to prove your loyalty?

Abe

Sorry, but you cannot refer to the propaganda as "science" when there are highly reputable voices being silenced for dissent. You may call it your belief system, your religious cult or even your most beloved fairy tale, but calling a deceitful scam to be scientific is a mockery.

Please share your sources for all of the good news about vaccines and I will share mine. I guarantee you will learn some truths that will not be allowed in the public forum.

Jolly Roger

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, more people have died from the coronavirus (607,000) than perished in all our wars since WWII.

And now nearly all the COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are among people who weren’t vaccinated.

Like you, Abe.

Abe

See for your selves. I'll hope that you have the courage to break out of your cognitive dissonance and click the link: https://www.brighteon.com/a569c7c9-9572-47ed-ba3c-130b0c13aa55

Jolly Roger

Abe, you’re believing these wacko websites while covid deaths among unvaccinated folks like you are spiking.

Meanwhile deaths among us vaccinated folks are almost nonexistent.

You’re like Bagdad Bob who told the world on TV that Saddam Hussein was winning the Gulf War as our tanks closed in on him in the background.

Abe

I'm sorry that you are either incapable of doing some independent research or you are one of the many dim-witted trolls who perpetuates the lying MSM's agenda.

Abe

For the second week in a row, more vaccine deaths than covid deaths. That, according to CDC and VAERS own websites.

You people are not very bright.

ClownsRus

Mr. Grateful shouldn’t be so hard on Trumpsters like VoiceforAll and Abe.

These suckers are actually doing a public service by providing a living experiment with their unvaccinated bodies.

So far very, very few of the new Covid cases are among those who've been vaccinated. Now nationwide virtually all the new coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated people like VoiceforAll and Abe.

Thanks, fellas, for helping to prove a scientific point with your brave selflessness!

But have you noticed that Trump himself quietly got vaccinated? And Rupert Murdoch, the owner of FoxNews which rails every day against the vaccine actually got vaccinated even before Joe Biden and the Queen of England. And have you noticed that the biggest anti-vax voice on Fox, Tucker Carlson, won’t tell you if he’s been vaccinated?

Trump wants to get re-elected by his angry base, and Murdoch gets rich off Fox’s angry viewership, and Tucker gets a great payday as well, but - golly gee - do you suppose these folks know something you don’t, guys?

Abe

Shameful of you to be such a poor example for the P&D's readers. You have a promising future within the covert machine.

BigSky57062

You like “simple facts,” Abe. Here’s some more you can ignore:

Currently, 99.5 percent of all covid-19-related deaths in the United States occur among unvaccinated people like you and your Trumpster friends; while only 0.5 percent of covid deaths occur among vaccinated people.

Donald Trump once said "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?"

But for once Trump was being too modest.

Today he could shoot someone like Abe, who would then drag himself to the polls and vote for The Donald with his last dying breath.

Abe

Here's a simple fact for you, too.

Mike Lindell is now doing and saying exactly what Democrats did and said in 2018. Why is it not sensible for the majority of US citizens to question election integrity now?

Your team is either stupid or have long term problems with your short term memory.

ClownsRus

Abe, I assume you directed us to the Brighteon.com website in innocent credulity.

As JollyR says, “How adorable!”

Brighteon is a Tin-Foil Hat Conspiracy website that publishes pseudoscience. It's one of the most discredited sources on the internet.

In this spirit let me share a link with you, Abe. If you aren’t already wearing this headgear, here is a real bargain for you.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CXZBRW5/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_2CY6Z7882AM3CR60373V

Abe

Jolly Roger must be on that pipe again. He thinks his version of the truth will stand, but most people are dumb enough to fall for his trickery.

Friedrich Farmer

Abe, can you please tell us why you take a website like Brighteon.com more seriously than the covid statistics of Johns Hopkins University?

Abe

Because the video conveys provable facts, compelling evidences and sound arguments just as presented by many other reputable physicians who are all strangely silenced by the MSM Gestapo.

It's not difficult to explore their testimonies on alternative sites, but you will not find them running against the official narrative on your channels. Please refute Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford's School of Medicine. I'll wait.

Abe

Oh, yes... another good reason to be suspicious of JH is for the fact that the esteemed university was instrumental in Event 201, replete with all the other nefarious players. Just a few weeks prior to their launch of the pandemic bioweapon.

Abe

I get it: there's no sense in trying to meet any of you on the playing field of ideas. This has been my lesson in futility and I have decided to no longer feed the trolls.

Grateful Dead

Don’t leave, Abe.

You’re a staunch representative of the die-hard (maybe literally) Trumpster anti-vaxxer, and I’ll be fascinated by your perspective as the new coronavirus variants proliferate and continue to take down your anti-science compatriots.

Please. Couldn’t you at least remain until you're hospitalized?

Old Hugh

Abe, there is no vaccination for stupidity.

But there is one for the Coronavirus.

Why not set up a secret vaccination appointment? Your Trumpster pals don’t have to know.

Friedrich Farmer

Before you go, Abe, could you please help me understand something?

Mr. Trump takes credit for developing the Coronavirus vaccine, and he has been vaccinated himself.

With this positive example from your leader, why do so many Trumpsters like yourself refuse to get vaccinated?

Abe

It's all for show. We all know Trump feigned the vax to get useful idiots to get in line. We all communicate in code and you're not in the club. Haha, you lose. The clock is ticking and you will expire in 24 months or less.

Okay, but seriously... why take an experimental injections which never claimed to "vaccinate" anyone, for a common cold with 99%+ survival rate, which was never approved by the FDA and clinical trials end in 202?

I'd guess you are all a bunch of Mavericks! Giddyup go cowboys!

Abe

Oh, and 600,000 deaths? Really? That's roughly 17% of the USA. I dont know anyone who died FROM covid. They cant even isolate it yet! Are you all so foolish or just frightened?

Abe

Let's ask the Yankees! They cancelled tonights game because "covid" yet all three who were sick got the injection.

Herp derp!

G. Reaper

Before you go, Abe.

Many a “thank you” to you and FoxNews.” My job is so much easier these days!

Abe

Ha! You stand absolutely no chance against hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. We've readied our medicine chest against this ridiculous folly for cheap.

In the meanwhile, please stop inferring that I watch television at all, and certainly not Fox.

Abe

It's just too easy for us conservative intellectuals to watch your concocted world views implode in this forum. Again, I'll dismiss myself from these, your sophomoric word pictures, to contend with those who are more my equal.

Later, kiddos

Abe

You're doing a great job as the grim reaper... 45,000 dead from the vax. Bravo.

Grateful Dead

“Trump feigned the vax to get useful idiots to get in line.” Abe, that doesn’t make any sense at all. Aren’t you just throwing that out to “own the libs.”

But it doesn’t make any rational sense. Trump brags about developing the vaccine, he takes the vaccine himself, but then he stands by while FoxNews trashes the vaccine and says it is a hoax.

Now instead of extolling his roll in developing the vaccine, his loyal followers would rather die than get vaccinated. How does this make any sense?

But Abe, some of us believe the numbers coming from multiple sources - both governmental and private. The vaccine is not 100% effective against getting COVID, but it is close to that in preventing hospitalization and death. The nation’s rising COVID death rate in all 50 states is primarily among the unvaccinated.

It’s probably too late to change the minds of you who believe whatever Trump or “Q” says. Even in the face of rising death rates among unvaccinated Trumpsters.

The important question now is whether this hysteria will drive more folks to the polls to vote Republican in 2022 and 2024 or whether more anti-Trumpsters will be driven to the polls in revulsion.

And of course there is always the wild-card of Republican voter suppression laws.

We’ve already lived through 100 years of Jim Crow voter suppression. Maybe we’ll have to endure a few more generations of it.

But my money is (literally) on the bet that it can be stopped now.

Abe

One would assume that sarcasm is welcome here.

Abe

VAERS whistleblower reports vax deaths now at 45,000 and many within 72 hours of the jab. Swine flu vax was pulled after just 53 deaths. Kind of strange that we keep getting this experiment pushed upon us when 99.9% survive and affordable, safe, proven drugs can save the other few who may need them. When will people accept that we have been lied to?

This isn't about Trump nor Biden. It's about We The People (of the world, btw) vs. a well laid plan to eliminate 95% of us useless eaters. Wake up to the truth!

G. Reaper

Listen to Dr. Abe, folks.

Abe

You are so rich!

One not need to be a doctor to share facts and data. I hope I get at least one person to look into these facts and share their findings. I know you won't. You want people dead! It's your job.

G. Reaper

It is my job, Abe.

And you science-denying Trumpsters make it so much more rewarding.

G. Reaper

It is my job, Abe.

And you science-denying Trumpsters make it so much more rewarding.

Friedrich Farmer

Abe, in the face of mounting Covid deaths among unvaccinated Americans, maybe instead of trying to debunk the medical science of Covid-19, you should join the Flat Earth Society.

You can’t pick a better lost cause than that.

And you won’t be contributing to the misinformation that's killing so many of you science deniers.

Abe

Can you please share with me how many patients at Sacred Heart Hospital died from - not with - vivid since this all began? Gimme some hard numbers. I'll be waiting.

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