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PM News Brief: Fight Against COVID-19, Davis Clipper Shutting Down & Lung Cancer

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Managers of a weekly newspaper in northern Utah have announced it will stop publication and close down, saying its business model no longer works. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, November 17, 2020

State

Utah Legislative Committee Passes Two Bills Meant To Curb Protests

The Utah Legislature’s Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee approved two bills Tuesday that would change the state’s policies around consequences for riots and protests. One of the bills would make it a felony to block roads while protesting, which could mean up to five years in prison. It’s currently punishable by fines up to $750. It would also clear drivers of wrongdoing if their car is stuck in a riot and they injure or kill someone while trying to get out. The other bill would keep people in jail longer after being arrested for rioting. The legislation will be considered during the 2021 general session. Read the full story.Emily Means

Utah COVID-19 Update

Utah health officials announced 3,178 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The state’s seven-day average of new daily cases also surpassed 3,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Nine more people have died from the disease. The Utah Department of Corrections also announced the third death of an inmate who had tested positive for COVID-19. The 50-year-old man had been hospitalized since Oct. 12. The other two inmates were 70 and 82 years old. — Ross Terrell

“All In” Companies Launch PSAs For Fight Against Pandemic

Representatives from Intermountain Healthcare, Qualtrics and the Larry H. Miller Group are launching a public service campaign Tuesday night to encourage Utahns to join together to fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Dubbed “All In,” it will feature local television commercials, social media posts and billboards urging people to follow the simple public health guidelines that have been stressed throughout the pandemic — wearing a mask, staying physically distant and washing hands. Leaders from the organizations say the measures are needed more than ever, as the state is seeing record hospitalizations and the holidays approaching. For those who still don’t believe the virus is real, Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison said to contact the hospital system to arrange a visit to the ICU to see the toll COVID-19 takes on people. — Jon Reed

Utah Leads The Way With Low Lung Cancer Rates

Utah leads the country with the fewest number of people contracting lung cancer — which is the leading cause of cancer deaths. That’s according to an annual report from the American Lung Association. But even with the top ranking, Utah falls toward the bottom in the country for early screenings of the disease, which are key to catching it when it’s most curable. Utah is also one of the few states that doesn’t cover lung cancer screenings or treatment through Medicaid. The American Lung Association said awareness about treatment options is key to improving outcomes. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Shireen Ghorbani Concedes In Race For Salt Lake County Council

Democratic Salt Lake County Councilmember Shireen Ghorbani has conceded to her Republican challenger Laurie Stringham — who leads by only .24%. Stringham’s victory means Republicans will now have a 6 to 3 majority on the County Council. She wrote on Facebook that Ghorbani called her to concede and was “gracious and kind” and thanked Salt Lake County voters for their support. Ghorbani tweeted that she stood up for the progressive values she believes in and called on her supporters to get involved in grassroots organizing. — Sonja Hutson

Research Finds COVID-19 Cases Are Probably Higher Than Reported

Researchers at the University of Utah predict the state is only catching about 40% of its COVID-19 cases with testing. The findings are based on randomized testing done in the Salt Lake metro area in May and June, and comparing that prevalence with what is reported by the state’s health department. Based on state data, there are currently around 1,500 active COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Utahns. But researchers predict it’s actually closer to 2,100 cases per 100,000 people. Nationwide, the U’s study estimated the true prevalence of the disease is two to three times higher than what’s reported. — Caroline Ballard

Davis Clipper To Print Final Paper Next Month

Managers of a weekly newspaper in northern Utah have announced it will stop publication and close down, saying its business model no longer works. The Dec. 4 edition of The Davis Clipper will be its last after 129 years of publication, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The paper’s website will also shut down. The publisher said in a statement that the 11 full-time employees and multiple stringers were notified of the decision last week. It comes as the Bountiful-based paper struggled over the past decade with declining revenue from advertising and subscriptions. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Voting Machine Company At The Center Of Unfounded Conspiracy Theory

Dominion Voting Systems, headquartered in Denver, has become the center of an unfounded conspiracy theory, shedding doubt on the presidential election. Its machines were used in a number of states this election including Michigan and Georgia where the Trump administration is contesting the results. Part of the unproven theory claims the machines switched a significant number of votes from President Donald Trump to Joe Biden. The Federal cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency said this just isn’t true. But it is part of a larger wave of misinformation according to Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University Dagnes says it’s something that may only be healed when leadership and citizens agree the division in the nation right now is toxic. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau