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The peak that wasn't: How Montana avoided the worst of COVID-19, and how that success could be undone

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Montana has been the safest state in the Lower 48. Despite early projections of hundreds of deaths and a shortage of ICU beds, the state's initial outbreak peaked with a daily caseload of 23 on April 1. The state was able to not only flatten the curve, but also go farther than any other state in stalling the virus's spread, with new cases zeroing out in late May.

But over the past week, Montana has seen its largest surge of cases. On Thursday, the state reported 37 positive cases, the most in a single day. The daily caseload was back to 23 on Ju...

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