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

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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 Gov. 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.