Governor Steve Bullock held another press COVID 19 press conference on Friday to provide more statistics about coronavirus patients throughout the state.

He then turned the press conference over to Dr. Marc Mentel, President of the Montana Medical Association, who compared the COVID 19 crisis to a brutal wildfire season.

“Imagine if you will that it is the end of August, temperatures are in the 90’s, humidity is in the single digits and we have been through a drought for the past year,” began Mentel. “The entire state has had pockets where the fire has broken out, but through mitigation strategies we’ve been able to gain control over the situation. Now, we want to allow Montanans to go back into the woods to camp, fish, hike, bike, and ATV, etcetera, knowing very well that there are still burning embers out there and pockets that corrupt and can become uncontrollable wildfires at any moment. We also know that these eruptions will endanger human life. This is our current situation.”

Mentel has no love for the concept of ‘herd immunity’.

“For us to achieve herd immunity in our state approximately 85 percent of the population would need to contract this virus, survive and become immune,” he said. “Personally, I’m not a fan of this option as I consider this for my family, friends, colleagues, community and state. I believe this would be a reckless approach and do not endorse any consideration for this being a viable option.”

Mentel provided his description of what Governor Bullock called ‘Phase One’.

“We’re heading into the contingency phase, that’s heading into Phase One,” he said. “This will be very challenging moving forward to the next year to 18 months until a vaccine or other countermeasures are available for the COVID 19 virus. Personally, this is the only option that incorporates everyone’s values and concerns, weighing the risks and benefits and truly treating the human spirit. We here at the MMA (Montana Medical Association) are in favor of the contingency plan.”

There was no word as to when Governor Bullock would identify when Phase Two of the state’s reopening would be announced.