Letter to the Editor - Glad an official expressed my shutdown concerns


Last updated 4/17/2020 at 9:27am

Editor’s note: This version corrects an editing error in the first paragraph of the letter.


Aren’t all meetings of public officials required to be open? If differing perspectives cannot be discussed then — which would give a false impression of total agreement — then when?

I am happy to have a public official express my concerns at last, though (Hill County Commissioner Diane McLean) and I have not discussed this issue. When disallowing non-essential travel on Highway 2 was being tossed around, it gave me pause, to say the least — we do not live in a police state.

To put things in a clearer perspective I have done the math. As of April 10, these were the death rates, per population infected with the virus, for Montana, with total shutdown and the states that surround us, limited shutdown:

Montana: 1.64 percent

Wyoming: zero percent

South Dakota: 1.12 percent

North Dakota: 2.16 percent

Idaho: 1.79 percent

This may be a misreading as the death rates would go down if tests were more widely available.

For further perspective, comparing Montana’s virus death rate to the state’s total population of 1 million plus, the death rate comes out to .0006 percent.

This is not to trivialize the loss of loved ones, but to suggest that Montana’s outcome, and Hill County’s, may have been the same without putting people and businesses in dire straits.

Loretta Park



Editor’s note: Since the data was used for the computations in this letter, new confirmations have occurred including, as of Tuesday afternoon, Montana experiencing its seventh COVID-19 death and Wyoming, which had been the last state to not have a death attributed to COVID-19, confirming a death, slightly changing the percentages used in this letter.


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