South Dakota and New Mexico offer a snapshot of the alternate realities in the U.S. pandemic.

Known coronavirus circumstances in the United States have now surpassed 12 million, and the each day routines of a huge quantity of Americans are actually formed by their ZIP codes and governors and beliefs about the virus. Do they put on masks? Go to high school in individual or on-line? Eat out? Get uncovered to the virus?

The pandemic and the nation’s disjointed response have taken the notion of two Americas to a new excessive. The contrasts are significantly seen in South Dakota and New Mexico, states which might be dwelling two completely different economies: one wide-open, the different bolted shut.

In South Dakota, the place a conservative frontier philosophy dominates, the financial system has fared comparatively properly, with unemployment at 3.6 p.c, properly beneath the 6.9 p.c nationwide common. Some cities, shops and college districts require masks or social distancing, however, as a complete, the state has the fewest restrictions of any, with neither a masks mandate nor vital limits on companies.

But hospitalization charges have been the highest in the nation, and greater than 7 p.c of the inhabitants has examined constructive. The state has the nation’s second-highest charge of new circumstances.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, sees her strategy as a badge of freedom, criticizing restrictions as ineffective and economically damaging.

“You wouldn’t even know there’s a pandemic going on,” stated Heidi Haugan, a mom of 4 younger youngsters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s greatest metropolis.

New Mexico has fewer circumstances per capita, however a extra alarming pattern line. Daily case numbers have greater than doubled over the previous two weeks. On Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, put the state’s two million residents below some of the hardest restrictions in the nation, issuing a two-week stay-at-home order, banning restaurant eating, setting capability limits on grocery shops and closing indoor malls, film theaters and gyms.

And the virus has been pummeling the financial system. Unemployment in New Mexico has risen to eight p.c — roughly the identical as neighboring, Republican-led Arizona — and small-business house owners voice widespread fears about closing down.

In each South Dakota and New Mexico, individuals are hurting in comparable methods — not solely struggling financial and well being woes, however rifts with members of the family and mates over the virus and how one can combat it.

Allison Byington, who lives in South Dakota, stated her mom lately referred to as her a assassin for refusing to put on a face masks. “We don’t have a relationship anymore,” Ms. Byington stated.

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