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KUNR Today: Nevada COVID-19 Cases Jump Slightly, Proposed Bill Would Ban Offensive School Mascots

Assemblyman Howard Watts is wearing a suit and face mask. He is writing on a paper pad while standing in the Assembly Chamber.
David Calvert
/
The Nevada Independent
Assemblyman Howard Watts inside the Legislature on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Carson City, Nev. Watts is one of the primary sponsors of a bill that would ban racist mascots and nicknames.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2021.

Higher Than Average Number Of New Daily Cases Reported In Nevada
By Paul Boger

Nevada health officials reported a higher-than-average number of new daily coronavirus cases Tuesday.

The two-week rolling average of new daily cases has greatly declined since January to just 245 per day. But health officials reported more than 400 news cases Tuesday, the highest number of daily cases since mid-February.

At the same time, the state’s test positivity dropped to 6.2%, another step closer to the World Health Organization’s goal of a 5% test positivity rate, which it recommends for governments to fully reopen.

Fewer than 400 people in Nevada are currently hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. State officials estimate roughly 9% of the state’s total population is fully vaccinated.

Health officials also reported 14 additional COVID-19-related deaths Tuesday. In all, 5,054 Nevadans have died. Nearly 297,000 Nevadans have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic last year.

In Washoe County, the health district reported 38 news cases and zero deaths, while 3,057 cases remain active countywide. Thus far, 649 Washoe County residents have died from COVID-19.

Sen. Cortez Masto Touts Healthcare Protections In New COVID-19 Relief Bill
By Isaac Hoops

Nevada’s senior U.S. Senator, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, says the new federal coronavirus relief bill will include money to protect the health benefits of unemployed workers.

Current estimates project Nevada could get as much as $4.1 billion under the American Rescue Plan currently before Congress.

While the measure still needs final approval from the House, the legislation includes subsidies for COBRA premiums, which will allow unemployed or furloughed workers to continue to receive health care benefits.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the House vote, Sen. Cortez Masto says the relief package will help protect some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

“Help is on the way. I am proud that the Senate has passed the American Rescue Plan because it contains so much support for Nevada's hardest-hit communities. From stimulus checks to more money for vaccines, to support families with children, and funding to safely reopen our schools,” Cortez Masto said.

Nevada’s sole Republican in Washington D.C., Representative Mark Amodei, is the only member of the state’s Congressional delegation to vote against the relief bill.

Cortez Masto Calls For Filibuster Reform
By Jayden Perez

Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is among the growing number of federal lawmakers calling for filibuster reform.

She is asking leadership to implement what’s called a “talking filibuster.”

That would require a senator who wishes to block legislation to hold the Senate floor by speaking continuously, which is not currently required.

According to Cortez Masto, this change would prevent exploitation of the current system and increase transparency.

Climate Change Linked With Shrinking Butterfly Populations
By Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

Yet another study is showing a decline in butterflies across the American West. This latest research led by the University of Nevada, Reno says warmer autumns due to climate change are the culprit.

Matt Forister is the lead insect ecologist behind the analysis. The study focused on open spaces across the West, away from human development.

“The fact that butterflies are suffering out there in the open spaces, which includes protected parks, etc., means that we should look close to hand to better manage the lands that we can influence,” he said.

Forister said we can all play a part. For example, in our own backyards, we can choose to use insect-friendly pesticides because doing something is crucial.

“We can’t rely only on the honey bee to pollinate our crops. We need a diversity of natural pollinators moving forward,” Forister said.

The study also found that the decline in butterflies across the West is consistent in declines estimated for other groups of insects around the world. Forister said this is frightening because insects are the glue of ecosystems.

Nevada Bill Would Bar Offensive School Mascots, Place Names
By The Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers are considering legislation that would require schools to get rid of racially discriminatory logos and mascots and require officials to push for the renaming of mountains, trails, or any other geographic points with racially offensive names. The bill, which had its first hearing on Tuesday, comes in the wake of a national reckoning over race that has led to school and professional sports teams dropping their mascots, and activists and officials pushing to rename streets, peaks and other places that glorify the Confederacy or make offensive references to Native Americans.

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