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South Dakota is grappling with the nation's highest positivity rate. This Covid-19 widow wants a mask mandate

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Chris and John Bjorkman bought their home in De Smet, South Dakota, less than a year ago. The couple, who celebrated their 39th anniversary last June, thought they would spend the rest of their lives together on the idyllic land, home to the Little House on the Prairie's Laura Ingalls homestead.

John Bjorkman is one of 644 people who have died in South Dakota -- where the per capita Covid-19 rate leads above any other state in the country.

The seven-day positivity rate is also alarmingly high -- at nearly 60% -- higher than any other state in the US, which has seen more than 11 million people infected and over 245,000 killed by the virus.

Bjorkman told CNN she's speaking out because she knows if John were still alive, he would still try to help people by telling them how deadly this virus can be.

And a lot of people don't, and we just need some kind of leadership in this state to help us get through this time," she said.

"People need to wear masks and they just need to social distance," Bjorkman said people should limit their interactions, social distance and where a mask because "you don't know who is gonna survive it. "

More than 62,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and over 3,500 have been hospitalized, according to the state's Covid-19 website.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem never issued a stay-at-home order, and as people continue to get sick and die, says she will not mandate mask wearing.

From the start, she has downplayed the dangers of the virus, downplayed the importance of wearing a mask and it has really undermined the people's trust in their medical community," Emry said.

Jodi Doering, an emergency room nurse, told CNN's Alysin Camerota on New Day Monday morning that she's seeing many people in her state in denial over their Covid-19 diagnoses, and are often angry in the last moments of their lives when they could be talking to loved ones.

Doering wants people to recognize the cost and the severity of this virus in South Dakota and take steps to protect themselves so that they don't end up in the hospital, where "it might be too late. "

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