As long as humans encroach on nature, pandemics are inevitable — making it important to concentrate resources in areas where people and wildlife are linked.
In some parts of the country, the surge in covid cases is overwhelming coroners, morgues, funeral homes and religious leaders. It has required ingenuity and even changed the rituals of honoring the dead.
It typically takes years of persuasion to change habits in the name of health safety. Local officials who are stuck with the responsibility of enforcing statewide pandemic-related mandates are trying to transform behavior fast.
Recent deaths on a small Native American reservation in Montana have underlined the heightened risks for Indigenous youths and how suicide prevention programs are struggling to operate during the pandemic.
Republican Greg Gianforte said that he will encourage people to wear masks and wear one himself when he’s sworn in as governor, but that he trusts Montana residents to make the right health decisions for themselves.
Recreational marijuana may face resistance from GOP-dominated state governments despite being voted into law in Montana, South Dakota and Arizona.
As coronavirus cases surge, state officials can’t afford to wait for a new president to take office before taking action. But some governors’ initiatives seem to be little more than policy tweaks or symbolic gestures.
Montana is seeking penalties against some businesses that violated its mask and social distancing directives, after months of reluctance to enforce COVID restrictions. Meanwhile, cities, counties and tribal nations still struggle to get people to mask up and avoid crowds.
COVID-19 infections and quarantines are pulling health professionals off the front lines, exacerbating staffing woes that existed in large, rural states well before the pandemic.
As the pandemic continues to cast shadows on everyday life, some candidates for governor are talking about everything except the specifics of how they would manage COVID-19 into the future.