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These GOP governors long resisted masks and coronavirus rules. Now their states are in crisis.

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020, file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Rapid City, S.D. Noem on Thursday, April, 2, 2020, said she was activating the National Guard to set up temporary hospitals in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. (Jeff Easton/Rapid City Journal via AP, File)

Since Covid-19 hit US shores, Republican governors in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains have largely taken a hands-off approach. The results of that strategy have been poor.

When adjusted for population, no states have had more new Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths over the past seven days than North and South Dakota.

"We've relied on people to be responsible," Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said Friday, "and they're being irresponsible. "

South Dakota has averaged more than 1,400 new coronavirus cases per day over the past week in a state with about 885,000 people.

Jodi Doering, a nurse at a South Dakota emergency room, said some people dying at the hospital are still in denial about the virus.

Per capita, North Dakota has the most new coronavirus cases and deaths over the past seven days of any US state, and is second in new hospitalizations only to South Dakota.

Over the weekend, he issued health rules for the public that require people to wear masks indoors and limit indoor gatherings.

In the country's least populous state, Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican who took office in 2019, did not issue stay-at-home orders in the spring and has not required people to wear masks.

But Gordon said he was considering a mask mandate as well as further restrictions on indoor gatherings if things don't change.

Now, Iowa is behind only the Dakotas in its measure of new coronavirus cases when adjusted for population, and the state has the fourth-highest number of people hospitalized per capita.

And so on Monday, Reynolds overcame her resistance and instituted a new health order requiring masks indoors and further limiting indoor gatherings to 15 people.

Even so, Gov. Brad Little, a Republican who took office last year, admitted that the strategy so far, with no statewide mask mandate and few restrictions on gatherings, has not been effective.

Half of Idaho's population is under local mask mandates, he said, but people are not complying or are taking their masks off in private social settings.

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