Holiday season raises concerns for a spike in COVID-19 cases

Photo credit | Wikipedia David H. Lipp
The National Guard continues to help at testing sites

North Dakota still has the highest daily mortality rates in the world

 It has been two months short of a year since the first Covid-19 reporting in Wuhan, China. Since then, this microscopic virus has made its way to the coast of North America and eventually spread to the heartland.

North Dakota has consecutively held the record for the highest death rate among the 50 states over the past few months. According to Newsweek, North Dakota has not only broken the record for the daily death rate in the United States but worldwide.

On Nov. 9, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum ordered asymptomatic health care workers to remain working even if they test positive for Covid-19, according to Newsweek. The hospitals and staff are disheartened by this idea as they are already overwhelmed with the current situation at hand.

On Nov. 14, Burgum finally issued a long overdue mask mandate.

The mask mandate requires masks to be worn in indoor public spaces, including businesses and outdoor public areas where 6-foot social distancing isn’t possible. People with health conditions, disabilities, or young children are exempt from the rule.

“Our situation has changed, and we must change with it,” Burgum said. “We believe in North Dakotans. We believe in the power of individual responsibility. And we need individual responsibility now more than ever to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Along with the new mask mandate, Burgum has limited restaurants to 50% capacity and large venues to 25% capacity.

On Nov. 14, daily cases spiked significantly with 2,270 new positive cases, according to health.nd.gov. Since then, the trendline has decreased with 729 positive cases reported on Nov. 29.

Over a seven-day period ending on Nov. 15, statistics show that North Dakota had the highest daily mortality rate of any domestic state or country with 18.2 deaths per 1 million people. Czechia, a country in Europe, came close behind at 18 deaths per 1 million people.

Although cases have started to trend downward at the end of November, multiple news sources predict that the number will increase again due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

“We’re going to see an unprecedented surge of cases following Thanksgiving this year, and if people don’t learn from Thanksgiving, we’re going to see it after Christmas as well,” Dr. James Phillips, the chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital told CNN.

Citizens have already expressed their frustration with the new mandate and some will still refuse to wear a mask in places that require them, but for others wearing a mask has already become routine. The mask mandate and restrictions will help North Dakota move in the right direction, but there is still a long road ahead.

In the end, the strongest part of any government depends on the will of its people. Only they can determine when life will return to normal.

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