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Public safety is priority #1

Michael J. Williams, Fargo

The Governor has told us repeatedly that we don’t need a mask in public requirement because people will do the right thing as we did volunteering for sandbagging during floods. Volunteering to wear masks in North Dakota clearly isn’t working as North Dakota Covid 19 cases have been climbing for weeks. For weeks now ND is one of only 4 states listed in the red (imminent or active breakouts)

Governor Burgum said at his press conference yesterday that the reason North Dakota is listed in the red (imminent or active breakout) for cases of Covid 19 per capita in so many national Covid 19 tracking sites is because ND does more testing than other states.

The fact is there are a dozen states that do more testing than North Dakota and they all have fewer cases per capita. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/states-comparison

For instance: ND has 33.7 cases per 100,000 people and have done 26,852 tests per 100,00. No mask in public requirement

New York has 3.6 cases per capita, 10% of our cases per capita, and they have done 43,130 tests per 100,000. Yes they have a mask in public requirement.

Minnesota has a mask in public mandate and has 14.8 cases per 100,000 less than half our 33.7 cases per capita.

Montana has a mask in public mandate and has 12.1 cases per 100,000 far less than ND’s 33.7 cases per capita.

In contrast: South Dakota has no mask mandate and has 34.8 cases per 100,000. Iowa has no mask mandate and has 34.4 cases per 100,000. ND, SD, and Iowa all without mask mandates have the most Covid 19 cases per 100,000 in the country. www.covidactnow.org

North Dakota has lost 150 of our people related to Covid 19. Our neighbor to the north, Manitoba has twice our population, a mask in public mandate, and have lost 16 people to Covid 19.

The governor asks us to wear masks in public. If the governor believes the science that more people wearing masks in public help reduce the spread of Covid 19, issuing a mask in public requirement will help increase the number of people wearing masks and helping save lives.

We know masks in public during this catastrophic pandemic can help save lives, similar to speed limits, seat belt laws, banning smoking in public places and other common public safety laws.

Effective elected officials number one priority is public safety, let’s make public safety priority number one in North Dakota too.

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