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AM News Brief: Economics Of Mask Mandates, Wildlife Migration Patterns & Nursing Shortage

Photo of a surgical face mask
Wikimedia Commons
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A new report from the University of Utah shows face covering requirements have a positive effect on the economy.

Friday morning, November 27, 2020

State

New Study Finds Mask Mandates Have A Positive Impact On The Economy

A number of studies have found masks are effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19. But a new report from the University of Utah shows face covering requirements also have a positive effect on the economy. Nathan Seegert, an economics professor at the U, said it comes down to how safe people feel when they leave their house. “The data is very clear that when people feel more confident, they go out and they spend,” Seegert said. “And so it is important for these policies to increase consumer confidence, and that's what we see.”The study found Utahns were about 50% more likely to go to a store if everyone there wore a mask. And it found spending tends to be higher in counties with mandates. — Ross Terrell

Shortage Leads To Bidding War For Traveling Nurses

As the pandemic drags on and hospitals are understaffed, a bidding war for nurses is emerging. A new report from Kaiser Health News shows some places around the country are willing to pay traveling nurses several thousand dollars a week. That has some rural hospitals in the West worried. CEO of the Western Healthcare Alliance Angelina Salazar told Kaiser there’s no way rural hospitals can pay nurses that kind of money. A spokesperson for the Utah Hospital Association said they’ve seen nurses leave all four of the state’s major hospital systems to take traveling positions that pay more. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Pink Pistols Teaching The LGBTQ Community How To Fight Back

A group in Salt Lake City is working to teach LGBTQ people how to defend themselves. Two years ago, Ermiya Fanaeian was a leader of the youth activist movement for gun control. This July, Fanaeian started the Salt Lake-based chapter of Pink Pistols, a national group whose mission is to arm LGBTQ people. The group hosts trainings at shooting ranges and also educates members about gun safety and buying firearms. Fanaeian said another goal is to change perceptions that LGBTQ people are easy targets. Read the full story.Emily Means

Region

New Native Monument Could Replace One With Checkered Past

A number of controversial historical monuments were taken down by racial justice protesters or removed by authorities this year, including some in the Mountain West region. In Denver, the century-old statue of a Civil War cavalryman was toppled in June. It was designed by Captain Jack Howland—a member of the First Colorado Cavalry. Soldiers from that cavalry killed more than 200 Native Americans in the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. Earlier this month an advisory committee voted to replace the toppled monument with the statue of a Native American woman. — Robyn Vincent

Scientists Tracking Humans Impact On Wildlife Migration

New maps of big game migrations in the Western U.S. will help identify where human development is getting in the way of animals on the move. Scientists have been using global positioning and statistical analysis to identify precisely where big game animals look for the best places to spend summer and wait out winter. Homes, roads, fences, oil and gas fields and mining operations increasingly interfere with those migrations. — Associated Press