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South Dakota nurse says many dying patients still insist COVID-19 'not real'

A South Dakota emergency room nurse on Monday expressed frustration that many of her patients don't believe they are dying of COVID-19.

Jodi Doering's tweet went viral on social media over the weekend after she tweeted about patients who "don’t believe the virus is real ... while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm."

"It wasn't one particular patient, it's just a culmination of so many people," Doering told CNN's "New Day." "And their last, dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real.’ "

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South Dakota reported 821 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 62,521 current confirmed cases statewide. The state health department reports 20 percent of hospital beds are currently occupied with COVID-19 patients.

"People want it to be influenza, they want it to be pneumonia," Doering said. "We've even had people say, 'You know, I think it might be lung cancer.' ... Even after positive results come back, some people just don't believe it."

Doering said multiple patients target nurses like her with their "anger and hatred."

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"They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don’t have COVID because it’s not real," she tweeted on Saturday.

"I think it's just a belief that it's not real and nursing happens to be on the receiving end of that," she told CNN.

"It just makes you sad and mad and frustrated and then you know that you're just going to come back and do it all over again," she added.

Doering also noted on Twitter that some patients argue with her that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Biden says staff has spoken with Fauci: 'He's been very, very helpful' MORE "is going to ruin the USA."

Biden has indicated that as president he will ask governors and mayors to institute mask mandates, in keeping with CDC recommendations for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

South Dakota's Republican Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemMembers of law enforcement sue to halt marijuana legalization in South Dakota Thanksgiving gatherings could inflame COVID-19 crisis More GOP governors embrace mask mandates, but holdouts remain MORE did not issue a statewide lockdown order earlier this year, unlike most other states, and continues to criticize statewide mask mandates.

"It's a good day for freedom. Joe Biden realizes that the president doesn't have the authority to institute a mask mandate," Ian Fury, communications specialist for Noem, told South Dakota's The Argus Leader on Friday. "For that matter, neither does Governor Noem, which is why she has provided her citizens with the full scope of the science and trusted them to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones."