During a press conference on Friday, Republican North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum became emotional while pleading with residents of his state to avoid “mask shaming” one another, NBC News reported earlier today.
Burgum asserted that anyone deciding whether or not to wear a mask had nothing to do with their political party.
The governor’s tearful request asked everyone to remember that someone wearing a mask might have a sick child at home or could be trying to protect “vulnerable adults in their life.”
Burgum acknowledged that the virus does not spread from person-to-person “equally” and that some are more at risk than others.
His appeal for decency comes amid reports of anti-mask protests breaking out across the nation, some of which have become violent.
“I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through.”
Burgum asked that everyone “try to dial up” their “empathy” and “understanding.”
He continued, adding that if one person feels that wearing a face mask is what is best for them, it should not be seen as a statement on someone’s politics or ideology.
“If somebody wants to wear a mask, there should be no mask shaming.”
According to CNN, North Dakota does not currently require its residents to wear face masks amid the pandemic.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum fought back tears in a news conference: “If someone is wearing a mask, they're not doing it to represent what political party they're in … They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments” pic.twitter.com/ovQa4MK5YN
— CNN (@CNN) May 23, 2020
However, masks are strongly recommended by both the Centers for Disease Control and the White House. Masks are believed to be an effective means to control the spread of the virus.
Wearing face protection “could prevent seemingly healthy people from infecting others with coronavirus if they’re asymptomatic.”
The article stated that America had seen almost 100,000 deaths and more than 1.6 million infections from COVID-19 since January.
On social media, the majority of users seemed to agree with Burgum’s statements imploring people to see beyond their differences in opinion when debating whether or not to wear face masks in public.
Several people followed up on the governor’s remarks by adding that they were wearing masks to protect others and hoped that effort would be reciprocated.
Multiple Twitter users called Burgum’s speech a demonstration of “real leadership.”
“Governor @DougBurgum is right. When you politicize a pandemic, the only side that wins is the virus,” tweeted Frank Luntz.
“He was crying because he sees the erosion in our society taking place,” said another commenter.
Burgum’s statement is much different tonally from remarks made by Republican Chairwoman Cynthia Brehm in Texas. She was captured on video at a political protest denouncing the usage of face masks and alleging that the coronavirus panic is a hoax.