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As the death toll increased in Dakotas, the COVID-19 pandemic was approaching more homes



With coronavirus infections raging in Dakotas and elected leaders refusing to intervene vigorously, the burden that drives people to be serious with the virus has increasingly placed on the families of the missing.

The number of people who know what it means to lose their loved one to COVID-19 is increasing. North Dakota and South Dakota had the nation’s worst death per capita rates in the past 30 days. Despite advances in the treatment of patients with COVID-19, hundreds have died in more recent weeks than any other period ̵

1; a grim twist in a viral outbreak that hits the deltas. North and Midwest.

In Dakotas, the virus showed some signs of slowing down. With winter approaching and hospitals scrambling for room for COVID-19 patients, health experts are concerned that viral mortality will continue to rise in an area where people are slow to adopt Mitigation measures such as wearing a mask. The Republican governors of both states opposed government orders to help stem the outbreak, based on the ideology of a limited government.

Deaths drew closer and closer to home among closely related communities: a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo; a former school principal at De Smet; an elementary school employee in Sioux Falls; a North Dakota state legislative candidate.

Chris Bjorkman, who lost her husband, Mr. John Bjorkman, 66, said: “Sometimes I think it’s not true.“ Sometimes I think he will walk through the door, but he hasn’t come yet, so I am continue to wait. “

Bjorkman’s family, who live in De Smet, a town in southeastern Dakota where Laura Ingalls Wilder once had a farm, decided to publicly share his struggles with the virus because he loves serving the community. . After working as a teacher and school manager, Bjorkman was a popular figure, remembered for his cheerful and caring personality for children.

“I want everyone to know what a COVID can do and how serious it can be.” Chris Bjorkman said.

The family went through the stress of facing the healthcare system, as John Bjorkman was taken to hospital in Minnesota after his condition worsened. The family posted regular updates on Facebook as the boy was transferred to bed in the intensive care unit in Sioux Falls and put on a ventilator.

Doctors aren’t sure how many more cases they can handle like Bjorkman.

Dr. Michael Pietila, key care physician at Yankton Medical Clinic, said: “At the moment, we are moving in a direction that dominates our healthcare systems and I think that’s closer to what people understand ”.

The hospital system in Dakotas is a complex network of important outreach facilities in rural areas and small hospitals that depend on referral of patients to some of the major hospitals in the region.

The rush of virus patients has caused mental and physical stress to the hospital staff, even as they try to avoid infection. In an interview with the AP news agency, Pietila was interrupted by the ping of an email announcing that some hospital staff had tested positive for the virus.

“COVID patients come and they have been sick for a long time – weeks in a row,” he said. “A lot of these COVID patients don’t get better. There is a lot of sadness. “

North Dakota reported 309 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 30 days, more than in all the periods combined. According to data from Johns Hopkins, the state ranks first in the nation in the number of deaths per capita in the past 30 days, with about 41 deaths per 100,000 people.

South Dakota reported 252 deaths, a 98% increase in the past 30 days. According to Johns Hopkins data, the death rate was about 29 people per 100,000 people at that time.

“The destruction I am seeing from everyone is amazing,” said Mike Henriksen, a sports television station in South Dakota who knew five people had died. “If we were simply looking for each other, we could greatly stop this.”

The severity of the situation in Dakotas has worried health professionals across the country, such as Dr. Ashish K. Jha, principal of the Brown School of Public Health. He calls Dakotas a “cautionary tale” about the consequences of ignoring virus science and public health initiatives.

Jha noted that the area began to experience steep climbs after the Sturgis Motorcycle Race in South Dakota, a two-week event that attracted nearly 500,000 people. According to Jha, as the number of infections is increasing, it becomes more and more difficult to control the spread.

“It’s a very fast freight train and it will take a lot of effort to stop it,” he said.

The doctors in the area, stunned, said they were still struggling to persuade people to take precautions.

Dr Jawad Nazir, clinical professor at the Medical College of South Dakota, said: “When I went out and didn’t see a large number of people wearing masks, it really worried me. “This won’t go away.”

During a tour of Bismarck, ND, on October 26, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, shook his head after noticing what she said was the extent of mask use lowest anywhere she goes in the country.

However, the governors of both states have made it clear that they will not issue masked missions.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who recently won re-election, is respecting what he calls “light touch of government” and encouraging people to voluntarily wear a veil. He also refuses to enforce limits on social gatherings and business.

In South Dakota, Noem doubted whether wearing a mask in public would be effective, saying she would let everyone decide. She said it was impossible to stop the virus. The state’s largest medical groups recently launched a campaign to make it clear that masks work.

Many people who have experienced COVID-19 firsthand, including Republicans, are calling on the government to do more.

North Dakota’s House speaker, Republican Rep. Bismarck, Lawrence Klemin, spent four days at the hospital bed of her 99-year-old mother, “holding her hand and watching her die” from COVID-19. Klemin said the masking rule needs to be enforced.

“It’s really a tough thing to go through,” Klemin said of his mother’s death. “I don’t want that to happen to anyone.”




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