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Pediatricians pen letter to Gov. Burgum, urging mask mandate

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Editor’s note: After publication, three of the nurse practitioners who signed the letter reached out to the author of the letter to have their names redacted. We have corrected this article, and images, to reflect this change.

While Gov. Doug Burgum said Wednesday that the efficacy of mask mandates is inconclusive, dozens of doctors are saying otherwise.

Sixty-two pediatricians in the state signed a letter sent to the governor Tuesday urging him to implement a statewide mask mandate. The letter reads, in part, “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.”

President of the North Dakota American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Kathy Anderson says the upcoming flu season could further strain hospital resources if the virus isn’t under control.

“As a person who has had patients die, I can say that this decision is a no brainer from a public health or physician perspective. If we’re talking about the loss of life, we’re going to see more and more of that,” Anderson said.

October is on pace to become the deadliest month since the pandemic began in North Dakota. 118 people have died with COVID-19 so far. 122 people died in the entire month of September.

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