With two forms of the COVID-19 vaccine finally making their way to South Dakota — and with the number of new and active infections in the state dropping since reaching their highs in November — many believe there is reason for optimism in the battle against the coronavirus.
However, as the tumultuous 2020 nears an end, it is clear that COVID-19 will leave a scar on South Dakota and the nation.
As of this writing on Thursday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 326,000 coronavirus casualties.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), that is more American deaths than took place on the battlefields of World War II from 1941 to 1945.
On a pure numbers basis, the vast majority of those deaths have taken place well beyond the borders of South Dakota. For example, CDC data on Thursday showed that approximately 25,000 deaths related to COVID-19 had taken place in New York City alone.
South Dakota’s total number for COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday was 1,430.
However, New York City’s population is nearly 10 times that of South Dakota’s. Therefore, to provide a more realistic comparison, the CDC offers statistics based on a per 100,000-resident basis.
As of Thursday, CDC data showed South Dakota with a COVID death rate of 157 per 100,000 residents since January. The national average for that time is 97.
Deaths per 100,000 related to COVID-19 by city or state, according to CDC on Thursday, showed:
COVID infections per 100,000 residents since January, according to CDC:
National Average — 5,540.