In North Dakota and Grand Forks, masks remain a controversial issue

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AHE
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In North Dakota and Grand Forks, masks remain a controversial issue

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mask mandates — or really any big, anti-pandemic safety rules — have become profoundly politically charged. There is no serious doubt that wearing masks helps stop COVID’s spread, but for some Americans, mask mandates (and even masks themselves) have become an avatar for something sinister, like perceived government overreach. Bucking them has become a political statement.

"I think cues from political leaders are vital here. If the president had come out in early April and said ‘Everybody wear a mask,’ I don't think there would be a question (of wearing them)."

That kind of leadership by example, Jendrysik said, filters down to state politics, especially for Republican governors.

“Everything's political,” he said. “I think (Gov. Burgum is) calculating that mandates and stringent regimes are not popular with the voters.”

If North Dakota were its own, separate country, its per-capita case rate would make it the fourth most-infected country in the world, behind only Bahrain, Andorra and Qatar. It’s far in front of the national U.S. rate of about 2.5%
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