A top doctor from the White House on COVID-19 came to Bismarck on Monday.  She didn't have good things to say about North Dakota's current COVID-19 situation.  Dr. Deborah Birx, considered one of the top doctors in the nation's fight against COVID-19.  According to InForum, she clashed with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum on the controversial topic of mask mandates during the visit.

According to Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken, who was in attendance at the Governor's round table on Monday, Dr. Birx had some stern things to say about Bismarck.  Including, "This is the worst mitigation she's seen on the local level."  She notes an unusual level of lack of physical distancing in public spaces and in retailers in Bismarck.  According to an article on InForum, she was observing Bismarck hotels, restaurants and grocery stores.  Dr. Brix is currently on a 38 state tour of the country, and she noted that the residents in Bismarck were the worst she has seen at social distancing and wearing a mask.  That's right, we're number one and not in a good way in her book.  Dr. Brix also mentioned she observed more public face coverings when she visited Fargo a couple months back, Mayor Steve Bakken of Bismarck was in attendance of that meeting as well.

Dr. Brix also sited examples of other communities around the country who implemented mask mandates and they have aided in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in just a few weeks.  The death rates also went down.

According to the article, during Monday's meeting, Burgum reiterated that mask-wearing is effective in slowing the virus' spread, but continues to leave it to individual residents to do the right thing and wear a mask in public.

Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken told me he's not in favor of issuing a mask mandate at a local level, but that a statewide mask mandate would be more effective as North Dakotans travel from one community to another all the time.

There's a big city commission meeting in Bismarck Tuesday night, where a mask mandate is on the agenda.  I get the feeling it's only a matter of time.


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