We’re right back to where we were months ago in the coronvirus/Covid-19 pandemic – noncompliant.

North Dakota is now a longstanding Covidiotacracy. 

In this case, “longstanding” refers to the obvious onset of the coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, which dates back only 10½ months or so for the majority of the population. However, it’s been the longest 10½ months any of us who have made it this far has ever lived. 

North Dakota has botched its response from the beginning. Here’s how the pandemic has gone down in the state – 

Doug Burgum, the state’s governor, refused to implement a statewide mask mandate for months… consistently and continuously insisting our Larry, Darryl and Darryl neighbors would be responsible and do the right thing (nope)… ND became tops in the nation for infection rates… Burgum FINALLY instituted a statewide mask mandate… infection rates dropped precipitously… the Radical Right began braying and introducing bills that would make mask mandates illegal… and, as of today, Burgum let the mask mandate expire. 

Photo of Doug Burgum removing the mask mandate - covidiocracy
Photo by Mike McCleary/TheBismarck Tribune via AP

In a press conference last Friday, the Governor basically said, “Now that we know what to do, we’re going to stop doing it.”

This is classic behavior of people who, having gained control over their physical or mental health conditions by using medication as prescribed by experts who know what they’re doing say to themselves, “I’m doing fine. I don’t need this anymore.” They stop taking their prescriptions and – Lo and Behold! – begin experiencing symptoms again.

Medical professionals call it “noncompliance” or, more specifically, being “noncompliant with the prescription regimen.” It’s especially prevalent among patients with diabetes or mental health issues and, now, those with delusions brought on by unwavering belief in The Big Lie.

North Dakota, as embodied by its governor, is clearly “noncompliant with the prescription regimen.” 

The prescription from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been, and remains, three pronged:  maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone who is not part of your immediate household, avoid large gatherings and wash hands correctly and repeatedly. It’s intended to slow the spread of coronavirus and Covid-19 until the necessary 70-90 percent of the U.S. citizenry has been inoculated against the virus.

This is what North Dakotans can do. Without the mask mandate, most won’t do it. And now the governor has made it official.

The Governor’s action is absurd. It’s dangerous. It’s illogical. And it’s infuriating for those of us who have been doing the right things all along, with or without a local or state mask mandate. Makes us want to scream.

And it comes at a time when more than 400,000 U.S. citizens have died from Covid-19 and, according to CNN, “More than 60% of all Covid-19 cases nationwide have been reported since Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020), leading to nightmare-level infection rates.” (emphasis mine)

Masks work. The statewide mask mandate worked. But now that we know what it takes, we’re not going to do it anymore.

So now what?

Covidiots will return to covidiocy. Infection rates will resurge. Business owners won’t require masks because they aren’t required to do so. New Covid-19 strains that spread more easily and quickly, along with additional new strains popping up all over the place, will arrive. More people will die unnecessarily, not just North Dakotans but people from other states they come in contact with. Still more will suffer prolonged effects of the illness.


It appears Burgum is bowing like a yearling willow to the radical right winds of absurdity and willful ignorance in a radically right red state, aka, people who have been brainwashed into believing the virus was a hoax in the first place and therefore does not require any preventative actions now. No doubt there’s pressure from traditional Republicans who want to keep doing business, as well, your life be damned.

To hell with an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Instead, we’re back to where we were months ago, before we officially became a Covidiotacracy – 

We’re left hoping our Larry, Darryl and Darryl neighbors will do the right thing, that they take personal responsibility, wear masks, keep at least 6 feet between themselves and anyone not in their immediate households and wash their hands correctly and repeatedly.

Forgive me if I don’t put a lot of faith in that hope. For coronavirus and Covid-19 in North Dakota, it’s been dashed too many times and for too many lost lives.

MCFIV copyright graphic 2021

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Featured artwork: The screamer from Pink Floyd’s The Wall via Deviant Art.

Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger (https://ivwords.com) nonprofit founder (https://theclimateknights.org/) and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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