To the Office of the Governor of North Dakota:
As pediatricians serving the children of North Dakota, we have watched as COVID-19 ravages our state. North Dakota’s per capita infection rate is now number one in the United States, and deaths of North Dakota citizens continue to climb. Now more than ever, North Dakota needs a mask mandate.
As the case counts increase, the percentage of our hospital beds devoted to the care of patients with COVID-19 climbs with it, which jeopardizes access to care for adult and pediatric patients as the upcoming influenza and respiratory virus season rapidly approaches.
Masking prevents the spread of COVID-19. Although universal masking is not a perfect solution, until there is an effective and safe vaccination, masking is all that stands in the way of North Dakota and a public health disaster this winter. The refusal to endorse a mask mandate is no longer an act of strong leadership; the refusal ignores sound science and the recommendations of medical experts at local, state, and national levels.
We ask you, Governor Burgum, to do what is necessary even if it is politically inexpedient. Please enact a mask mandate for the health and safety of North Dakota.
Clifford Mauriello, MD; Sarah Lien, MD; Aaron Van Ningen, MD; Grant Syverson, MD; Stephen Nelson, MD; Lynae Envik, APRN C-PNP; Kathy Anderson, MD; Stephen Tinguely, MD; Sadie Schmidt, MD; Ann Cadwalader, MD; Steven Mattson, MD; Christina DaSilva, DO; Joan Connell, MD; Maria Weller, MD; Amy Oksa, MD; Kristie Toman, DO; Alex Thompson, MD; Melissa Seibel, MD; Jamie Peshek, CPNP; Berit Wallevand, PA-C; Rafael Ocejo, MD; Carla Zacher, MD; Koye Oyerinde, MD, DrPH; Barbara Bentz, MD; Brenda Thurlow, MD; Myra Quanrud, MD; Erica R Sauer, MD; Natalie Dvorak, MD; Parag Kumar, MD.