Masks. I'm seeing more and more people wearing them around town.

To be fair, some folks never stopped.  There are those that absolutely believe they work and that we should all were them.  There are others that absolutely believe it's a hoax and we're all suckers.

I strongly dislike wearing a mask, yet I find myself somewhere in the middle.

I came down with Covid-19 late last October. My wife had it as well.  My Father who lives several states away had it. As did my Mother, who passed away from a combination of Covid-19 and COPD.

Still, I find myself in the middle.

I'm a lover of freedom and choice.  So, I don't do really well when someone tells me I have to do something.  Mandates are not my thing.  However, I also understand that we are dealing with a virus that is real and is making some very sick, with many losing their lives.

I will be the first to admit that I don't have a medical degree, so I don't pretend to be an expert.  I tend to sit back and watch the debate between those that are passionate on both sides.  I feel like both sides are so busy talking that neither is doing a whole lot of listening.  I realize this will probably get me some more hate mail (it's been quiet of late), but I'm in the camp of "do what's best for you and your family".

Olena Hololobova

If you want to wear a mask, I say wear one.  If you don't, I'm ok with that.  If you want to get the vaccine, go for it. If not, that's cool, that's your choice. I think lots of people probably think like that, they just don't take to social media to try and convince everyone else that they're wrong unless they think as they do.

Taking a look at the latest numbers for Montana, case counts and death percentages have increased dramatically in the last 14 days according to the New York Times.

Looking at the 14 day change in the state:

  • Covid-19 cases are up 58 percent (494 positive cases per day)
  • Covid-19 testing is down 9 percent (2292 tests per day)
  • Patients hospitalized up 31 percent (258 daily average)
  • Deaths are up 88 percent (5 per day)

In Gallatin County the average daily rate is 23 cases. Yellowstone County has a daily rate of 99 cases, Missoula County has daily rate of 57 cases, Cascade County has a daily rate of 60 cases, Flathead County has a daily rate of 59 cases, and Lewis and Clark County has a daily rate of 28 cases.

Credit: The New York Times

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.