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After losing a major US Senate race in November, outgoing Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) lectured Montanans at a recent press conference to "wear the damn mask." I had to joke around on the radio after hearing the governor's tough-guy routine: I got news for you governor- they're wearing the damn masks, the damn numbers keep going up anyway, your damn mandate must not be working, so maybe you should just get back to doing your damn job before you get on your damn way come January.

(By the way, there was nothing original with Bullock's "wear the damn mask" schtick. Just google search CNN and "wear the damn mask" and you'll see all of the results.)

In all seriousness; though, we've been talking since last Spring about the need to protect the most vulnerable members of our population, while keeping the rest of our economy and our schools up and running. We've also questioned the effectiveness of a mask mandate, and if it is giving the more vulnerable members of our population a false sense of security.

I don't know about you, but I've gone out to grocery and other stores here in Montana and practically everyone is wearing masks, and yet the numbers of COVID-19 cases keep climbing. I've also seen folks who are definitely in the at-risk categories piling into stores - I'm assuming because they think a mask will protect them from the virus. Some of the same politicians who tell us to "wear the damn mask" ignore the fact that masks are supposed to be worn when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Have you noticed that there certainly seem to be a lot of people saying, "I wear a mask everywhere, and I tested positive for COVID"? Two Montana newspaper reporters have both penned columns telling their readers that they largely followed COVID guidelines, and still tested positive for the virus.

Victor Flores is a sports reporter for The Billings Gazette. He said when he got the positive test results back he was "stunned...My symptoms were minor, and I had been so responsible throughout the pandemic. How could this happen?"

I like the way Rispens summed up the discussion that broke out via Twitter. "All of that to say that it's out there, no matter how careful you are."

KEEP READING: Learning From Mistakes During the Spanish Flu


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