Here's a sad statistic that, if you've been paying attention to COVID numbers over the past year, you may have been able to predict: for the first time ever, Montana recorded more deaths than births in a single calendar year. And the culprit, of course, is the pandemic.

We're not the only state that holds that distinction, either - 25 states across the country reported more deaths than births last year, and almost all of them were also reporting those numbers for the first time. Montana has been keeping records since 1908, which means these numbers break a streak of over 100 years.

Throughout 2020, Montana reported 12,018 deaths against 10,791 births, with the mortality rate increasing by 14 percent. COVID was the state's third-leading cause of death.

Now that the vaccine is out there, will these numbers improve for 2021? The COVID numbers in Montana have definitely been a lot lower than they were on average during 2020, so that's a good start. The pandemic affected everybody in so many different ways - businesses shut down, people started working from home, others lost their jobs... but it's important to remember the reason we had to shut down and socially distance in the first place. A lot of people lost loved ones over the last year to this disease, and that's reflected in these numbers for Montana and around the globe.

Time will tell if the death rate lowers both in Montana and across the US going into next year. For more information, The Missoulian gives a full breakdown of the numbers and what they mean for the state of Montana.

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.