Montana Public Radio

Coronavirus

Find the latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana here. This post will be updated daily, with newer information at the top.

Montana's COVID-19 restrictions

You can also find more Montana-related coronavirus information from the state health department, as well as updates from the CDC and tips for preventing and dealing with COVID-19.

Montana Coronavirus And COVID-19 News

Jan 15, 2021
The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

01/15/21

A reserve of COVID-19 vaccines promised this week by the federal government doesn’t exist, according to reporting by the Washington Post.

The Montana state health department did not respond in time for broadcast to questions about how many vaccines Montana will receive in coming weeks.

Paycheck protection program loan for small business forgiveness application.
iStock

The Paycheck Protection Program reopened Friday with a more finessed approach, as small business optimism is waning.

The White House push to vaccinate against the coronavirus will have a new name and new leadership under the Biden administration.

The "Operation Warp Speed" name will be retired, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday. She said there was an "urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution." Psaki did not say what the new name will be.

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have shortened the average life expectancy in the United States, according to new research, and the impact is most dire for racial and ethnic minorities.

The deaths caused by COVID-19 have reduced overall life expectancy by 1.13 years, according to the analysis by researchers at the University of Southern California and Princeton University.

That would be the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in the past 40 years and cut U.S. life expectancy to 77.48 years — the lowest it's been since 2003, the researchers say.

Health care workers across the country have been under tremendous strain as they grapple with surging coronavirus caseloads — with no end to the pandemic in sight.

This month, the U.S. hit a staggering new record of more than 302,500 new cases daily, according to Johns Hopkins University. Just this week, the country reached an all-time single-day high of 4,462 deaths.

Lydia Mobley, an intensive care unit nurse, has witnessed the abysmal human toll firsthand.

A social-distancing sign at a grocery story.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Updated 1/14/21

Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued a new COVID-19 directive which takes effect January 15. The new directive changes the state's guidelines, and replaces the directive established by former Gov. Steve Bullock. Local health boards still maintain the authority to enforce stricter mandates within each county.

"The whole concept here is we're going to move more to personal responsibility and away from specific mandates," Gianforte said. "Because we trust Montanans with their health and the health of their loved ones."

Pandemic Fuels Record Overdose Deaths

Jan 14, 2021

After their son died, Jackie and Robert Watson found a stack of popsicle sticks in his Milwaukee apartment. He'd written an affirmation on each one.

"I am a fighter." "Don't sweat the small stuff." "My kids love me."

Brandon Cullins, 31, had been working with a drug counselor, who advised him to write the messages to himself.

Picking up the popsicle sticks, the Watsons were able to see how hard their son wanted to kick his battle with cocaine. But they also wondered why he hadn't asked them for help.

In Los Angeles, COVID-19 cases continue to soar at an astonishing rate. In the first seven days of the year, for instance, roughly seven people died each hour.

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