A South Dakota nurse's plea for people to take COVID-19 seriously went viral over the weekend after she said she's had extremely ill patients who still didn't believe they were infected with the coronavirus. Her state is facing a death rate that has risen to the highest in the nation this month.
Jodi Doering tweeted about it Saturday night, describing it as a "horror movie that never ends" because it's something that keeps repeating itself.
"The (patients) that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real," Doering tweeted. "They tell you there must be another reason they are sick," she added, noting that they are "screaming" for a "magic medicine."
She said the yelling stops when the patient's condition gets so bad, they have to be intubated.
"The reason I tweeted what I did is it wasn't one particular patient. It's just a culmination of so many people. And their last, dying words are, 'This can't be happening. It's not real.' And when they should be spending time Facetiming their families, they're filled with anger and hatred and it just made me really sad the other night," Doering told CNN. "I just can't believe that those are going to be their last thoughts and words."
That's not to say all her patients think that way. Doering notes there are many who accept they have COVID-19 and are thankful for the care they are receiving.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday showed no sign of budging from her hands-off approach to the pandemic, despite finding herself among a dwindling number of Midwest governors holding out against mask mandates.
South Dakota has reported 219 deaths in November — about a third of all its deaths over the course of the entire pandemic. The COVID-19 deaths have sent the state to the top of the nation in deaths per capita during November, with nearly 25 deaths per 100,000 people, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.
South Dakota currently has the nation’s second-worst rate of new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. There were 2,047 new cases per 100,000 people, meaning that roughly one out of every 49 people has tested positive in the last two weeks.
The only state where new cases per capita are worse, North Dakota, moved to require masks and limit the size of gatherings on Friday. The situation there has grown so desperate that hospitals are preparing to ask medical workers with coronavirus infections but no symptoms to staff COVID wards.
But Noem has no plans to issue mask requirements. The governor’s spokeswoman Maggie Seidel pushed back against arguments by public health experts that a mask mandate would dramatically reduce the spread of the virus, pointing out that states like Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin have also experienced significant virus waves despite having strict mandates to wear face coverings.