A Blog by Jonathan Low


Dec 14, 2020

How 1 Out Of Every 800 North Dakotans Have Died From Covid

Low population density, largely rural. The kind of place whose residents thought Covid was a big city problem. 

And now, because of resistance to mask wearing and social distancing, it is one of the deadliest states in the US. JL

Jemima McEvoy reports in Forbes:

One in every 800 North Dakotans has been claimed by Covid-19. 25% of North Dakotans reported knowing someone who died of Covid-19.  North Dakota did not institute a mask mandate until November. (The) White House coronavirus response coordinator described the North Dakota’s Covid-19 protocols and mask usage as the worst  in the country.
Just two weeks after joining the growing list of states where at least one in every 1,000 residents has died from coronavirus-linked causes, North Dakota’s grim statistic has escalated: one in every 800 North Dakotans has been claimed by Covid-19. 


The North Dakota Department of Health confirmed 409 new cases and 27 additional deaths in the state on Monday, bringing the total death toll to 954 out of a population of roughly 762,000, or 0.97 in every 800 residents. 

Only two weeks ago—reporting the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in the world the week prior—North Dakota surpassed 769 deaths, joining a list now encompassing eight other states (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Mississippi and South Dakota) that have seen at least one Covid-19 death per every 1,000 residents. 

Around 79,661 people have tested positive for the virus in the state, resting North Dakota’s mortality rate at 1.5 deaths per 100,000 people, as of Tuesday.

Nonetheless, after raking an average of over 1,000 new cases per day for a large portion of November, North Dakota has become the eighth deadliest state in the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins. 

That being said, there are positive signs of at least temporary improvement in the state: the number of cases has decreased by 38% over the past two weeks compared to the two weeks prior, while deaths have dipped by 19% and hospitalizations are down 16%.  

However, this could be jeopardized by an anticipated boost in transmission nationwide due to the holiday season. 


“It’s a really critical time coming up with the holidays,” said Renae Moch, who directs public health in the city of Bismarck and Burleigh County. “If we continue to go down the path that we are, the Christmas holiday could be much worse than what we’re experiencing right now.”


North Dakota did not institute a mask mandate until November, when the state’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum—who emphasized the importance of a “light touch” from the government throughout the pandemic—declared that the state’s “situation has changed.” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx described the North Dakota’s Covid-19 protocols and mask usage as the worst she’d seen anywhere in the country when she visited the month prior. However, despite some opposition in the state, Carnegie Mellon University’s COVIDcast project, which tracks mask usage across the U.S., reports that nearly 90% of North Dakotans are now wearing masks. 


25%. That’s how many North Dakotans reported knowing someone who died of Covid-19 in a poll commissioned by the North Dakota Newspaper Association just before the Thanksgiving holiday.


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