Considered a rising political star, South Dakota Governor resisted taking any action on COVID-19 early on, when the state could have stopped its spread. In fact, she even disparaged masks.
As a result, cases spiked, especially in meatpacking plants and Sioux City. Noem downplayed the threat of the virus even afterwards and made months of poor decisions that has the state as one of the worst hotspots in the country today.
Even federal judges have condemned Noem for her failure to control the virus, with one calling South Dakota "now a very dangerous place in which to live due to the spread of COVID-19" and placing the blame squarely on Noem's poor judgment.