Seven months into our COVID-19 pandemic, many people remain confused about the coronavirus and if it's as severe as some believe. Despite 200,000 people having died in the United States from the virus, many people don't view COVID-19 as something we should fear. There are many other viruses and diseases out there, they say, that are far more deadly. Heart disease and cancer would be a couple of them. In Montana, COVID-19 deaths are barely outpacing deaths from vehicle accidents.

Others believe, however, that any virus that takes 200,000 souls is something we should be concerned about or downright fear. They point out that COVID-19 is more deadly than the flu, and with no current vaccine, we should change the way we live our lives until we can get some control over the virus. They say wearing a mask is one thing we can do to keep everyone safe and alive.

I've been watching the coronavirus since it was first being talked about in February. I visit the CDC website and look at numbers several times a week. I also look over the COVID-19 data released by the Gallatin City-County Health Department every day. To be honest, those numbers bring me comfort rather than fear.

Here's something I discovered today while checking COVID-19 data, which I find very interesting. I came across it in numbers and graphs provided by John Hopkins University and the CDC. 

On July 15, 2020, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a state-wide directive requiring masks/face coverings in certain indoor spaces like offices and retail shops, and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active cases. The directive was issued, we assume, to keep Montanans from contracting the virus, but most of all, to save lives.

The day that directive was issued, 34 Montanans had passed away in Montana. That was 137 days into our current pandemic, using February 29 (date of first reported U.S. COVID-19 death) as Day 1. In the 68 days since the Governor's Mask Directive was issued, we've experienced 129 coronavirus deaths in Montana. 79% of our 163 COVID-19 deaths in the state have occurred since the governor's mask directive.

Additional Note: In Gallatin County, we have had 3 of our 4 COVID-19 deaths post mask directive.

Montana COVID-19 Deaths

Pre-Mask Directive (137 Days) *February 29, 1st Reported COVID death in U.S.

34

Post-Mask Directive (68 Days)

129

What do those numbers mean? I don't know, I'm not a doctor, epidemiologist, or a health officer for the county. But I find them very interesting.