October 28, 2020 at 12:52 AM EDT
Some Americans refuse to wear masks even as their hometowns become covid-19 hot spots
By Joel Achenbach and Lori Rozsa
Resistance to mask-wearing and other efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus has hardened in the final days before the presidential election, demonstrating how the pandemic has been politicized and posing a daunting challenge to the nation’s medical experts.
The refusal to go along with expert health guidance has persisted even in parts of the country that are seeing soaring caseloads and hospitalizations. That was driven home this week when the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Deborah Birx, toured North Dakota, which has had more coronavirus infections per capita than any other state and over the past month has experienced a stunning surge in hospitalizations and deaths.
“Over the last 24 hours, as we were here and we were in your grocery stores and in your restaurants and frankly, even in your hotels, this is the least use of masks that we have seen in retail establishments of any place we have been,” Birx told reporters Monday after participating in a round table with Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, according to the Bismarck Tribune.