Hannity Lauds South Dakota, Home of Worst U.S. Virus Cluster, for Never Having to Shut Down 1

Fox News host Sean Hannity touted South Dakota on Thursday night as a state that has never had to shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving unmentioned that it is home to the country’s worst coronavirus cluster.

Applauding President Donald Trump’s latest guidelines for governors to explore reopening their states during the crisis, Hannity kicked off his primetime broadcast by pointing to the Upper Midwest state as a good example of an area that can quickly get back to work.

“Earlier today, [Trump] unveiled—finally we can hopefully move on— the federal government’s three-phase plan to reopen America again,” he said. “Starting as early as May 1 but actually earlier in some places. South Dakota never closed—at all! Even their restaurants stayed open.”

Later in Hannity’s monologue, after noting that many industries and essential businesses have remained open through the pandemic, he once again pointed to the state as an exemplar for returning to normal.

“The details of this plan include what will be a data-driven, multi-layered model that allows governors to react to their own state’s unique circumstances,” Hannity said. “For example, densely populated New York City will not be on the same timeline as Montana or South Dakota, which never shut down anything.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, however, has come under fire recently for refusing to implement statewide stay-at-home orders even though her state’s confirmed cases have been surging and a pork processing plant in Sioux Falls has now become the largest single-source hotspot in the country. 

“I don’t believe it’s appropriate considering the data, the facts, and the science that we have,” Noem, a Republican, said Tuesday amid calls for her to sign a shelter-in-place order.

Besides holding up a state that’s currently seeing a surge in coronavirus cases as a place that doesn’t need social distancing restrictions, the TV talk show host unveiled his personal plan to reopen Yankee Stadium and other New York City sports venues in the near future. The city, of course, is the epicenter of the pandemic and has already had more than 11,000 deaths.

Hannity, who workshopped his proposal during an earlier radio interview with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, explained that his plan would call for all stadium workers to be tested for COVID-19 daily and attendees to have their temperature taken before entering the stadium. 

Saying he would also agree to wear a mask and gloves to attend a game, Hannity then weighed in on what concessions could be served. 

“You probably can’t eat popcorn because you have to keep your mask on the whole time, but you could probably eat a hot dog,” he enthusiastically proclaimed. “Open up your respirator, take a bite, and you chew it under your mask. I have to drink my beer if I’m at a game, so if I have to use a straw and slip it in, I will do that. Whatever it takes to get my beer, I want to have a beer.”