Gov. Mike Dunleavy held a Sept. 22 press conference in which he fielded a barrage of questions from reporters asking why he won’t implement masking and vaccine mandates as well as other restrictions on society to deal with COVID.

The governor admitted that COVID was a real concern but noted that Alaska still has the third lowest COVID death rate per capita in the nation, while emphasizing the point that vaccines are available to anyone who wants them.

He also mentioned that some of the most vaccinated nations in the world are still seeing surges, saying that vaccines are not the cure all, but rather one of many tools.

The governor continued to encourage vaccinations but stopped short of entertaining mandates on a statewide level. He made no mention, however, of the growing mandates which are being imposed by private businesses, the federal government and the military.

Dunleavy said there were between 13,000 and 14,000 Alaskans who were getting antibodies from COVID every day – either through natural infection or vaccines.

Dunleavy was repeatedly asked if there was a line in the sand where he would mandate vaccines or masks.

“It’s difficult to hide from. It’s difficult to escape from,” he said. “So, the vast majority of Alaskans – practically all Alaskans – at one point will have the antibody either through vaccinations or through infection. But we see this surge abating over time as we have the others. After that we’re not sure what’s going to come our way, we’re just going to have to deal with it.”

Dunleavy did note that while there have been 465 COVID related deaths in Alaska, it is important to keep in perspective that over the same time period there have been more than 8,000 deaths from other causes.

While case counts are rising, and this is concerning, Dunleavy said he believes the state is responding effectively.

“We are on top of this,” he said. We continue to be on top of this.”

Dunleavy was repeatedly asked if there was a line in the sand where he would mandate vaccines or masks.

“With regards to the future, we always reserve the right to make decisions that will ensure the viability of the state,” he said, without ever mentioning mandates as the solution. “In terms of if there’s a line, we don’t know the twists and turns this disease is going to take.”

I would just ask everybody to do their best to really rely on the best science. It’s difficult because the scientific community is not unanimous in their view.

The governor said mandates also bring unintended costs such as business closures, job losses and supply chain interruptions. Ultimately, he expressed confidence in Alaskans to do what they think is best, without a statewide mandate.

He also took time to condemn the politicization of COVID responses, while acknowledging that there is conflicting information about how to best address the virus.

“I think there are a lot of contradictions,” he said. “Even withing the scientific and health care fields, you’ve got folks with different opinions on vaccinations, on therapies, etcetera. When you look at some of the governmental agencies – CDC, FDA etcetera, even the White house – there’s not a unified message. There’s not a unified outlook on this.”

Dunleavy asked reporters and politicians keep from politicizing the virus, especially since it is already “tearing apart our society.”

The Governor announced the roll out of a new effort to help hospitals increase capacity and reduce overall strain.

“It’s tearing apart families,” he observed. “There are families in which some folks want to get to vaccinated, some don’t. Some want to use other therapies, some don’t. And I would just ask everybody to do their best to really rely on the best science. It’s difficult because the scientific community is not unanimous in their view, as well as some the health care groups. But do the best we can to get through this together.”

One of the main goals of the press conference was to announce the roll out of a new effort to help hospitals increase capacity and reduce overall strain.

“There’s definitely an emergency occurring in the hospitals,” Dunleavy claimed. “A lot of people are getting burned out.”

While the governor mentioned that some health care professionals are leaving their jobs, he made no mention of the fact that nearly every hospital has threatened to fire employees who decline to get the COVID shot, which has only exacerbated their workforce shortage.

To help address this problem, Dunleavy announced that hundreds of medical personnel are headed to Alaska to provide assistance. Nearly 300 registered nurses and more than 100 certified nursing assistants are expected to arrive at the end of September. They are covered under an $87 million contract between the State of Alaska and the federal General Services Administration. 

Another aspect of the plan includes working with the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association to help recruit and expand the certified nursing assistant workforce, as well as implementing emergency regulations to reduce the time required to train nurse aides.

The state is also working with local emergency medical services agencies on strategies to alleviate hospital overcrowding. This includes providing services that facilitate early discharge of patients, as well as transporting patients to alternate destinations or treating them on the scene or in their homes to avoid hospital visits.

Alaska Health Commissioner Adam Crum

Health Commissioner Adam Crum announced that he has signed off on an addendum to the state’s emergency order which will provide guidance to Alaska’s hospitals, health care providers and local health authorities regarding crisis standards of care, should they be required.

The addendum allows hospitals to modify their normal level of care. Examples include letting an intensive care unit nurse treat three rather than just two patients at a time, allowing hospitals to postpone elective surgeries, and giving physicians greater freedoms to hold online visitations rather than seeing patients in person.

“Let me be clear: this is not a disaster declaration, nor a mandate, and does not require any new legislation,” Crum said. “The goal of this addendum is to provide support and guidance to our state’s health care providers as they continue to care for Alaskans during these unprecedented times.”

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Dunleavy rejects media calls to impose mask and vaccine mandates, urges cooperation

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Greg says:

    Whether everyone agrees with the governor on all issues or not, we should appreciate his refusal to yield to the tyrant’s decree. It amazes me that there are people who will brow-beat others about getting the “vaccine”, yet as the governor points out (along with many others), there is much contradictory information spewing from the mouths of bureaucrats, and many medical and scientific professionals warn against getting the jab. If you trust human government to have your best interests in mind, you have missed a lot of history. We don’t need government protection. We need protection from the government. Look at the tyranny being carried out against the people of the world by their own governments over a virus that has a 99 percent survival rate. Wake up. Do we not see that we are bring treated like cattle rather than human beings with natural rights? Why are people so afraid of freedom? Do not kneel to these oppressors. “It is better to die on one’s feet, than to live on one’s knees.” But obviously, some would rather live on their knees.

    • Evan S Singh says:

      Greg: how about ibuprofen? Is that the pharmacological equivalent of The Beast, or do you make exceptions?

      • Greg says:

        Evan, in case you are interested, which I have my doubts – Here is some information from Dr. Trasancos with Children of God for Life:
        “No one is producing acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin or anything similar with aborted fetal cell lines. Those articles (saying otherwise) are preposterously misleading. Please see this article (ttps:// and let me know if you have any questions.

        Yours very sincerely, and in Christ,
        Jose L. Trasancos, Ph.D.
        Chief Executive Officer
        Children of God for Life, Inc.”

      • Dee Cee says:

        Evan: I have some additional information for you that might be of interest. There is a blog called “Through Catholic Lenses” written by a Catholic priest-in-training. One of his articles is “If any drug tested on HEK-293 is immoral, goodbye modern medicine” dated January 28, 2021. In this article he gives lists of OTC and prescription medications that have been tested on HEK-293. The list is UNCANNILY similar to the lists being used by certain hospital systems to argue that if you are against abortion, you can’t take acetaminophen, Claritin, or other drugs. And what’s really cool, is he gives at least two citations for each one of the named drugs! I looked at some of those citations (more than a handful) and I noticed something IMPORTANT: every single lab experiment performed on HEK-293 was done AFTER 2001. But all of these drugs have been around for decades… some since before the dawn of the 20th century (aspirin is ancient!). The fact that we now use HEK-293 to conduct sick lab experiments on aborted fetal stem cell lines to test these old-fashioned drugs is NOT an argument not to take them–It’s an argument to STOP doing these kinds of sick and immoral experiments, which have become TOTALLY NORMAL in biomedical experimentation since the turn of the 21st Century. Here’s an analogy I think you’ll understand: If you are against torture, and water is used to torture people, say for instance Waterboarding, do you: 1) STOP drinking any and all water, or 2) take political action to protest the USE OF WATER TO TORTURE PEOPLE? The hospital system administrators who appear to have seized on this blog’s argument are hoping Christians don’t understand the difference there. It would seem you, too, Even, might need to give this some more thought (assuming you’re willing to spend time studying the argument or thinking about it at all… which Mr. Greg implies you can’t or won’t… maybe prove him wrong???)

      • Greg says:

        Well said.

      • Evan S Singh says:

        Well shoot. I didn’t get my point across. Greg argued against bowing to the “tyranny “ of the medical profession. I figured that he was overstating it so asked if he took ibuprofen, a product of the medical profession, but is super common.

        My comment had zero to do with abortion or fetal cells.

      • Greg says:

        Evan, I am not against all medical interventions. I am against medical coercion. And yes, I am against using products that were tested using fetal cells from humans murdered in the womb.

  • G Aleution says:

    Governments typically don’t have rights to reserve. The people have God-given rights. The US Constitution was written by the founding people FOR (limiting) government. Lee’s Declaration of Independence was written by the Lee’s of Virginia FOR the free people.

  • Neil A DeWitt says:

    It’s really sad for me to believe the people of Alaska are so stupid that they can’t put a mask on until the governor says to. WTH? You lived with covid for over a year and I’d hope your all educated enough to put a mask on without being told to do so. Your not children and don’t need to be told to mask up. The governor is correct, if you want to catch covid and maybe die then don’t wear a mask. If your smart and put up with the B.S. for a year then smarten up and put on a mask. It’s that simple people! Get a grip. Grow up and be an adult not whiny little kids that need to be told to mask up!

    Thank you,

    • Evan S Singh says:


    • AK Pilot says:

      We’re not stupid when we read the multitude (3 dozen-plus) studies finding that masks have little to no impact on the spread of respiratory viruses. We’re not stupid when we see that there was little difference in the Covid numbers between Anchorage (mask mandate June 2020-April 2021) and the Valley (never had a mask mandate), or between different states with different mask rules. Given these facts, we’re also not stupid for realizing that masks have nothing to do with public health and everything to do with control, and we thank God that we have a governor who isn’t all about control.

      • David Shoemaker says:

        Ak Pilot. Excellent response.

        Masks do little to nothing. Neil A DeWitt, we’re smart enough to follow the science. Go find the multiple rigorous studies going all the way back to the mask mandates Las Vegas carried out in 1918 with the Spanish Flu. All state that masks have little to no effect.

        “It’s like trying to block sand using chicken wire.” As one study puts it.

        Wise up. Look at the actual science. Not the conceptual…

    • Kfinh says:

      “Put on your mask to protect me”…. Even though I have my mask on…” no, my mask is to protect you.. look how righteous I am I care about you and society so I’m wearing my mask.” 18 months later “ Get the damn Covid shot already you vaccine deniers!!! You’re the reason us vaccinated folks are still catching Covid.. you’re unwillingness to get the Covid shot to protect us vaccinated crowd shows how stupid you guys are” “it’s the continual pandemic of the unvaccinated!!!!” No STUPIDS, I for one is tired of all you holier than thou lunatic spreading your medical misinformation blaming those of us who simply don’t want or need the stupid shot, that stupid mask and no stupid government mandates!! We don’t need a reason why we don’t want that stupid shot or mask, it’s AMERICA. Y’all folks are the reason why America’s falling apart and Americans are losing their freedom at a bullet train speed. Y’all the reason why this “plandemic” haven’t ended. It’s not because of those unwilling to be coerced into doing something against their will!!! It’s because of y’all scared sheeples. There I said it!!

      • Evan S Singh says:

        Shepples? Ten bucks says you voted for Trump. Maybe even sent the mega grifter some cash.

        This should help:

        Trump cares about one thing only: his insatiable, pathological ego. You are a mark, a pawn, a source of money;

        Masks work but not that great, better than nothing;

        Vaccines DO work and save lives.

      • Carol Allums says:

        You should probable do a little more reading. A) the effectiveness of a mask has nothing to do with Trump. The fact that you immediately went there tells me that your head is not in the right place. I have read studies that showed wearing masks only brings down the number of cases by 13%. Meanwhile, the survival rate of this virus is over 99%. A mask is only effective if it is appropriate for the pathogen and used properly. I know this because I am a retired nurse. If you want masking to be effective you would have to wear an N95 all the time, discard after every use and keep your hands off of it. Oh, and it must be properly fitted or it is useless. The best tool to battle this virus is common sense. If you are sick, stay home. If someone in your environment has symptoms of illness stay away from them. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face. I could go on and on. Masks may be helpful but they are not the answer- especially when people constantly pull them down or wear them wrong. The vaccine is helpful but not the cure all. People are getting COVID even though they have been vaccinated. The biggest barrier to getting through the pandemic, it appears to me, is ignorance and the insistence of some to politicize everything.

    • Fedup says:

      Had covid, survived covid, still won’t wear a mask. I’d rather get covid again than mask up. My choice. So far, my natural immunity has been protecting me and everyone around me. A study out of Israel showed natural immunity to be 27x more effective against the delta variant than the vaccine is. No need for a mask here.

    • Nathan says:

      Exactly! I’m totally okay with maybe getting really sick and dying. I’ve already lived with that threat for a year as you pointed out. I would never tell someone not to joint the military because of the possibility of death. It’s up to us how we choose to live or die.

    • Scott says:

      Wow. So bugger off. Masks are not effective. Cowards such as yourself just want security that ain’t security. Stay home and make love to your little fears. I aint getting a vaxination or wearing a mask. If i see ya, I will make sure to cough though 🙂

  • David Shoemaker says:

    Good response by Dunleavy. He is looking at the correct aspects of what’s actually going on. It’s the hospitals that need work. The people who are dieing are those in hospitals.

    My father inlaw died from covid this year. He was vaccinated.

    It was because of improper care. The structure of how the layers of the hospital was run is why he died. They don’t have their operations in order, there’s too much congestion and lag time from each communication point from department to department.

    His death could have been prevented by proper organizational structure. He was vaccinated, that did nothing.

    We need to look at the truth of why people are actually dieing and stop looking at the political talking points. Dunleavy is right.

    • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

      My mother died recently, in California, due in part to the side effects of finishing the 2nd shot of the Moderna vaccine. She ended up in the hospital 2 weeks after.

  • Burt says:

    The number 1 cause of early death? Medical mistakes. Stay out of hospitals as much as you can and live free.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Yes Dunleavy is right this time.
    Ok all you cry babies you Afraid sheep put on your mask get your shot and Shut up.
    Now let us sane people live are life’s without your Dam masks and shots.

    Dunleavy did note that while there have been 465 COVID related deaths in Alaska, it is important to keep in perspective that over the same time period there have been more than 8,000 deaths from other causes.

    Wait we better look into this 8000 people died how can we control them too.
    Yes it’s say that people died.

  • Kenneth Wells says:

    Me: Repeat after me: a new drug…
    Wokester: A new drug…
    Me: that hasn’t completed long term trials…
    Wokester: that hasn’t completed long term trials…
    Me: is experimental.
    Wokester: is experimental.
    Me: The covid vaccines haven’t completed long term trials.
    Wokester: The covid vaccines… aaaaarg!

    • Evan S Singh says:

      Has your blessed ivermectin toast condiment received any legitimate scientific analysis?

      • Condiment Junkie says:

        hmm.. Never thought about injecting jam or butter. Might be a great time though

      • Scott says:

        So India has been using it to save lives, its worked. CNN owns your every thought, every belief… sheeple much? You need thinking skills and/or a one way ticket to a commie country, loser

  • Jen says:

    I am appreciative to leaders such as: Governor Dunleavy, Mayor Bronson, Mayor Pierce, Rep. Eastman, Rep. Kurka and all the other leaders standing on the frontlines agianst the the full brute tyrannical force their enemies want to impose on the public.
    Most Alaskans don’t realize how blessed we are having the restraints in place restraining their colleagues from going complete nuclear on the public.

  • Ed Martin Jr says:

    Sorry Governor, your supporting violation(s) of the” Rico Act “by both Pharmaceutical Industry , the Hospitals & Doctors ! Dunleavy is desperate to gain back his conservative base he has already LOST! This Man is corrupt plain & simple . Keep your eyes open Alaskans more to come !

  • E5 says:

    “The vaccinations remain the most important tool that we have,” Dunleavy said. “Vaccinations are available — we have ample supply and anyone (12 and older) can get a vaccination that so chooses.”

    But in the meantime, to help hospitals struggling with overcapacity and burnout, 470 contracted health care professionals are making their way to Anchorage from the Lower 48 next week.

    Heidi Hedberg, the state director of public health, said there are 297 registered nurses, 114 certified nursing assistants and patient care technicians, 15 respiratory therapists, 14 medical lab personnel, 12 surgical technicians, 11 social workers, two licensed practical nurses and one physician on the way.

    The health care professionals are contracted through DLH Solutions — a federal health and human service outsourcing organization — and will be in Alaska for a minimum of 90 days, with an option for additional extension.

    The program, Hedberg said, costs $87 million and is 100% reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    “We’re incredibly thankful that there is a federal public health emergency (relief), and we’re thankful because FEMA will reimburse that contract,” she said.

    Mobile integrated health care will also be used under the new program for people in Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Juneau, Anchorage and Kenai. The mobile system allows health care professionals to arrive on-scene to a patient to triage the individual and use telemedicine to consult with physicians.

    • Fedup says:

      Why is Providence hospital threatening to fire unvaccinated employees, if they need them so bad? Why fly in new employees, when they can keep the ones who’ve been working through this whole pandemic. If hospital capacity was in that much trouble, they would not be letting go of the unvaccinated employees.

      • Greg says:

        In my place of employment there are both “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” individuals among a considerable number of people. I am in position to know any time someone there receives a positive Covid test. We have not had a positive test result since December. Until today. The person that tested positive has received the jab. Twice.
        It just goes to show you how absurd the hospital administrators are for their actions. It reminds me of what one man stated a long time ago to someone in academia that lacked common sense: “It appears to me that you are educated beyond your intelligence.”

  • Crys says:

    Dunleavy has just approved DLH vehicles to come to your door with tests, vaccines, re-education and staff support to help stave off the overflowing hospital problem. Here comes the Alaskan Gestapo!

  • G Aleution says:

    Those who won’t desecrate their bodies in this way will be forced into “green spaces” permanently. Do you consent?

  • Down With The Sickness says:

    Danced with the devil twice now. Once back in April 2020 and once a few weeks ago. The original strain kicked my butt good, the delta variant was hardly noticeable. Didn’t even know I had it until a routine test for work – probably due to residual antigens from the first dance. My point, screw the government and their political fear mongering. The narrative they are pushing with all this is way over inflated. I don’t care how many times I get this crap, I will never put that genetic altering goo in my body. Why aren’t we hearing about all the positive recovery cases? Why aren’t we hearing about all the negative feedback from getting vaccinated. Everything is biased toward pushing a government controlled agenda. I feel sorry for the simple minded idiots that actually believe what big government is telling them. Yes this virus deserves its due respect. Yes, this virus has killed people, and so has the flu and many other diseases throughout history, however, its really being over exaggerated.

  • NP Adam says:

    Has Z said ANYTHING about improving your health? How about this example. “I have both shots, I wear a mask religiously, I avoid crowds, I wipe down my groceries, etc…” , “I got the virus. Now what??” Has our main propagandist done ANYTHING to inform Alaskans on how to be healthier? How to have healthier lifestyles? The biggest thing D could do is to fire this gal and bring someone in that isn’t afraid to give us the hard truth. This isn’t a pandemic of the unvaccinated, it’s a pandemic of the unhealthy.


    465 deaths out of an estimate 2021 total 724,357 population equals 0.00064% of the population. While these deaths are certainly tragic and my heart and prayers go out to all who lost family members and friends, it is such a small portion of the population that to make more mandates that continue to make for struggling economic hardships on the rest of the population worse is also tragic. It is an undisputable fact that unless one is wearing an N95 mask, correctly, the other masks do nothing, even if worn correctly which I have yet to see, may only catch any large droplets expelled by someone coughing. They do not protect anyone from contracting the virus or spreading it. Perhaps a public information campaign asking people to not go out in public if they are coughing would be of benefit?

  • Teresa Liedes says:

    Thank you Governor Dunleavy for standing up for all Alaskans FREEDOM!!

  • NAV says:

    Dunleavy is a CROOK and he has manipulated the legislative body (except one) to pass unconstitutional bills, my guess he is involved in the Alaska airlines BS also and we know Murkowski is pushing his buttons. Oh and lets not forget the two who gave almost 1 million $$$$ to get him elected in the 1st place

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