North Dakota governor delivers plea against 'mask shaming'

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is asking residents to avoid “mask shaming” people who are wearing protective gear because of the coronavirus.

The Republican governor and ardent supporter of President Trump said during his Friday briefing that people who choose to wear masks deserve “support and encouragement” because they may be protecting someone who is vulnerable to the virus.

“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 where they’re trading a divide — either it’s ideological or political or something — around masks versus no mask,” Burgum said.

The governor said masks could be the new normal and compared them to the evolution of helmets for bicyclists, hockey players and bull riders.

President Trump has declined to wear face coverings during his recent trips outside of Washington, although he briefly donned a mask in private during a visit to Michigan earlier this week.

Meanwhile, North Dakota's daily COVID-19 cases nearly dropped in half from Friday's count, even though the number of tests were close to the same. Health officials confirmed 49 cases on Saturday, including 46 in Cass County, after more than 2,400 tests.

There were no additional hospitalizations and deaths.