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AM News Brief: Hydroxychloroquine Charges, Sage Grouse & Zombies

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Phil Douglas, UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES
A review of plans to ease protections for the greater sage grouse in Utah and six other states in the West is now complete.

Wednesday morning, January 13, 2021

State

Addressing Racism In Health Care

The leaders of Utah’s largest hospitals released a joint statement Tuesday speaking out against systemic racism and vowing to do more to fight it. The move comes in response to both the summer of Black Lives Matter protests and the unequal impact COVID-19 is having on people of color, according to Mikelle Moore, vice president of Intermountain Healthcare. Now, over 11 hospitals and Utah’s hospital association say they will add more people of color to their staff and boards, and they say they will work to expand healthcare access. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger

Northern Utah

Pharmacy Owner Charged For Hydroxychloroquine Scandal

The owner of a Utah pharmacy has been charged with illegally importing hydroxychloroquine from China. Dan Richards, head of Meds In Motion, was charged Monday with a misdemeanor for receiving large amounts of the anti-malaria drug from an unregistered manufacturer in China.

The pharmacy had won an $800,000, no-bid contract from the state last year in the effort to control the pandemic, but ended up refunding the money. Richards' attorney said his client was trying to help state leaders who thought the drug could treat symptoms of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump incorrectly touted the drug as a "miracle" treatment for the coronavirus and said he had taken the medicine. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Clock Ticking On Sage Grouse Plans

A review of plans to ease protections for the greater sage grouse in Utah and six other states in the West is now complete. Environmentalists said though there may not be enough time to put them into action before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The ground-dwelling bird has been at the center of a long-running dispute over how much public land should be developed in or near sage grouse habitats. In 2019 a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from relaxing rules imposed under the Obama administration. It restricted mining, drilling and grazing across millions of acres. That court order remains in effect with only seven days left in Trump's term. — Associated Press

Zombie Fans Ready For Pandemic

Fans of apocalyptic horror films may have been more mentally prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Researchers suspect that seeing apocalyptic scenarios helped people self-soothe or become more resilient during the pandemic. Researcher spoke to more than 300 people. Horror fans had fewer signs of depression, sleeplessness and found more things to do that they enjoyed. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau