Despite her state’s hospitals being overrun with COVID-19 patients, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem maintained her refusal to implement a mask mandate Wednesday, saying she didn’t “want to approach a policy of a mandate just looking to make people feel good.” South Dakota currently has the nation’s second-highest rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only outpaced by North Dakota. However, Noem’s northern counterpart, fellow Republican Doug Burgum, introduced a statewide mask mandate last week, as did Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Thirty-six states currently mandate wearing masks outside, according to the AARP.
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