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Letter: North Dakotans have paid a grim price

North Dakota executive and legislative leaders remain clueless in leading our state out from the abyss of unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths, terrified of right-wing, anti-science extremists. Misinformation should be condemned and counteracted and not ignored.

Letter to the editor FSA

As our state passed the grim milestone of 2,000 COVID dead, it should be noted more deaths and hospitalizations came to the west during Delta.

Nine of the top 10 North Dakota counties (Sheridan, Adams, McLean, Sioux, Mercer, Mountrail, Kidder, Hettinger, and Billings) with highest death rates since Aug. 1 had immunization rates lower than North Dakota’s average of 52.5% primary COVID immunization complete. North Dakota is 43rd worst in immunizations and 49th worst in mask use in the U.S.

Morton County had the 16th highest North Dakota death rate, with 29 deaths since Aug. 1, and Burleigh had the 18th highest death rate with 84 deaths. Both counties had delta death rates twice that of Grand Forks County.

Similarly, nine of the top 10 North Dakota counties (Sheridan, Grant, Emmons, McLean, Wells, Golden Valley, Morton, Adams, and Mercer), with highest hospitalization rates since Aug. 1, had immunization rates lower than North Dakota’s overall rate.

Morton County had the seventh highest hospitalization rate, with 117 hospitalized since August 1, and Burleigh had the eleventh highest rate with 450 hospitalized. Both counties had Delta hospitalization rates twice that of Grand Forks County.

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Cass and Grand Forks counties have higher immunization rates than western counties and have been impacted less.

North Dakota executive and legislative leaders remain clueless in leading our state out from the abyss of unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths, terrified of right-wing, anti-science extremists. Misinformation should be condemned and counteracted and not ignored.

What did a “light touch of government and individual responsibility” get our state? Two thousand dead and among the worst mask wearing and immunizations in the U.S.

There was a price to pay during delta for not being immunized and not wearing masks and social distancing. For many of the 460 North Dakotans who died of COVID since Aug. 1, it was the ultimate price.

Stephen McDonough, Bismarck
Pediatrician in North Dakota from 1980 to 2020; North Dakota Department of Health, 1985 to 2000.

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