At his coronavirus briefing today, Governor Doug Burgum talked about how the United States is currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"213,000 cases nationally, close to 85,000 of those are in the state of New York. Total US deaths have passed 4,500, and in New York - 2,373."
Burgum says he wanted to highlight these numbers because many Americans felt like when the coronavirus was becoming widespread in China and Europe, it was easy to believe it may never happen here. But in a matter of a few short weeks the United States has more confirmed cases than anywhere in the world. Burgum says because the virus doesn't discriminate, it is vital that everyone abide by social distancing guidelines. He says North Dakota does lag behind other states in terms of how prevalent infections are, but we are only a couple weeks behind. He says the work being done now is vital to slow the spread.
"Lots of advice out there to follow, but I keep hearing from calls that we're having - mayor calls, health officials, business community - we continue to hear where some people are taking this very seriously, but others are not. So again this is an appeal to all North Dakotans who love liberty and freedom - which I think is everybody in our state - to continue to maintain that liberty and freedom, it's very important that we exercise individual responsibility. By following these guidelines, you're literally saving lives."
Burgum says North Dakota's testing rate continues to be higher per capita than in other states.