President Donald Trump is the likely winner in North Dakota on Wednesday morning, according to Reuters. The state currently has the highest infection rate per 100,000 people in the United States.
Trump has 65.1 percent of the vote (232,474) in North Dakota, more than twice as many as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who received 31.7 percent (113,109), based on at least 90 percent of the expected votes counted at the time of writing this article.
In the traditionally republican state, no Democrat has won the presidential elections since 1964, and no Democratic governor has been elected since 1988.
The election results come in the midst of the ongoing COVID 19 outbreak in the state that has the highest per capita infection rate in the country, at 6,208 cases per 100,000 people on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
North Dakota has reported the most cases and the most deaths per capita in the past seven days. The state reported 151.4 cases and 1.5 deaths per 100,000 people last week (as of Tuesday).
The confirmed total number of cases in North Dakota exceeded 47,100 on Wednesday, with 555 reported deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases in North Dakota has risen sharply since mid-August, after remaining unchanged for months during the outbreak since late March.
North Dakota is one of 16 states in the country that have not issued a mask mandate, despite the outbreak reaching record levels.
Acting Republican leader Doug Burgum of North Dakota won a second term in the elections after some of his supporters expressed concern that he should adopt a more aggressive stance and impose stricter regulations in the fight against the virus.
The governor’s weekly briefings have led to a softer approach, with emotional – sometimes tearful – pleas, rather than executive orders that residents wear masks.
A mask mandate “is not a magic bullet that will make this virus disappear,” Burgum said earlier.
“I think it is important for the future of our state that we understand that there is something more powerful than an executive order, infinitely more powerful than a mandate. And these are the beliefs that people carry in their hearts: compassion, empathy, understanding and, dare I say it, even love,” he added.
Burgum’s democratic opponent, Shelley Lenz, said last month: “His [Burgum’s] crybaby method doesn’t work. I think his tears are real, but that is not what we need in a leader. He puts the blame on companies and individuals”.
The big picture
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 47.4 million people worldwide, including more than 9.3 million in the U.S., since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.
Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have died as a result of the infection, while more than 31.6 million are reported to have recovered by Wednesday according to the JHU.
The chart below, prepared by Statista, illustrates the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the USA.