“We were wearing masks all the time. We were wearing masks, and we stayed home,” Chris Bjorkman told CNN. “We were more worried about me. I have many underlying conditions. He didn’t.”
But she survived. Her 66-year-old husband did not.
I took John to the hospital, but he was transferred out of the state after only a few hours. “He was taken to Marshall, Minnesota, because they said Sioux Falls Hospital was full at the time.”
John Bjorkman is one of 644 people who have died in South Dakota – where the Covid-19 rate per capita surpasses any other state in the country. The seven-day positivity rate is also alarmingly high – nearly 60% – higher than any other state in the United States, which has seen more than 11 million people infected and more than 247,000 killed by the virus.
“When they brought me here, I literally didn’t know … if I would see the next day,” John said crying in a video call shortly after his transfer. “It makes me nervous. Literally, it could be December, January, before I wake up and play a little bit with my grandson.”
He passed away on October 20.
“I didn’t think it wouldn’t work,” Bjorkman said, crying. “I always thought he’d come home … I knew he might be in a wheelchair or something, but I just wanted him to come home.”
Now she is keeping her memories of her late husband as she sits in what was supposed to be their home.
“I just miss him, I miss all the things he’s done,” Bjorkman said. “He was a very positive person … He was always happy, ready to go, ready to get over the day. I mean, that was just John.”
DBjorkman said her husband was always helping people, especially children in the schools he was working in.
“When he was in education, he always did his best for children and things. He would find tennis shoes or glasses for them if their parents couldn’t afford it,” she told CNN. “He was a good person.”
Bjorkman told CNN that she’s speaking out because she knows whether John is alive or not, he will keep trying to help people by telling them how dangerous this virus is.
“People should take this very seriously. A lot of people don’t, and we just need some kind of leadership in this situation to help us get through this time,” she said. “We have no one to tell us what to do and I think some people need to … They should be required to wear a mask.”
“People need to wear masks and they just need social distancing,” Bjorkman said. People should limit their interactions, social distancing, and wear a mask because “you don’t know who will survive”.
South Dakota has the highest positive rate in the United States
But as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, it is rural areas that are worst affected despite low population and density.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rural Americans die 3.45 times higher than Americans who live in urban areas.
As of November 13, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day death rate per 100,000 people for Americans living in large metro areas was 0.2, while in rural areas it is 0.69. The national average death rate for seven days is 0.33.
governor. Noem’s office did not respond to CNN’s request on Monday and refused to join “New Day” for a live interview that morning.
But a few weeks ago, while attending a Trump rally, the governor claimed that people in her state were happy. “The only reason you know who I am today is because the liberals were busy kicking me in the head for all the decisions I made for my people in South Dakota. But let me tell you, my people are happy. They’re“ we’re happy because they’re free ”.
Front-line healthcare workers say hospitals have reached capacity
Although the governor does not feel the need to authorize the mask, health care workers told CNN they believe this may be the only way to curb the uncontrolled spread of the virus.
Dr Shannon Emery, a former US Air Force veteran, wants to authorize a mask to help mitigate the rapid increase in cases she’s seen.
“Our governor was misleading her voters. From the start, it reduced the risks of the virus, downplayed the importance of wearing a mask and undermined people’s confidence in their medical community,” Emery said. In doing so, it is putting people at risk. “
Emery said the lack of restrictions left the country unable to control the deadly virus.
“Our systems in hospitals across the state are already working, and they are already in this critical condition,” she said. “Obviously, healthcare workers are overwhelmed and the devastating thing for them is that we don’t see an end in sight. There is no deadline, no timeline.”
“Even if the positive results come back, some people do not believe them,” she said, adding that they sometimes insist that it is something else such as influenza, a cold or even lung cancer.
“It’s difficult and sad because every hospital, every nurse, every doctor in this situation sees the same things. These people get sick the same way, treat them the same way, and they die the same way. Do it again.” “It just makes you angry, sad, and frustrated.”
Doering wants people to become aware of the cost and severity of this virus in South Dakota and take steps to protect themselves so that they do not end up in hospital, where “it may be too late”.