Maine university system sees virus spike days before students leave campus

Maine’s public universities are seeing a spike in students test positive for the coronavirus just days before they’re supposed to return home to finish the semester remotely. As a result, several students — those who have tested positive and their close contacts — will have to quarantine on campus through the Thanksgiving holiday.

The University of Maine System saw two dozen students test positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. As of Monday morning, there are 84 active cases of the virus across the seven public universities, according to the university system’s daily coronavirus updates.

That’s the highest number of active cases the universities have recorded since the start of the fall semester, when the University of Maine System started regularly testing students and employees.

Sixty-six of the cases are at the flagship campus in Orono, where 13 new cases among students were reported on Sunday, according to system spokesperson Dan

Read More

Fighting the virus, the University of Michigan battens down the hatches.

The University of Michigan’s flagship campus in Ann Arbor opened the fall semester with great expectations. Thousands of students were welcomed back to the dorms in August.

Pessimists were asked to reserve judgment. Parents worried that students would not be safe.

Sure enough, by midsemester, coronavirus clusters were erupting on and off campus. In October, county health authorities ordered the whole campus to shelter in place, citing “social gatherings” on or near campus as a major source of infections.

Now, after more than 2,540 Covid-19 cases among students and staff, the university is shifting course drastically. It has asked students not to come back to campus in January unless they have to. Instruction will be remote in 90 percent of classes. Students who violate certain health rules will face tougher sanctions, including automatic probation, and coronavirus tests will be mandatory for anyone coming to campus.

In many ways, the school’s

Read More

People who develop COVID-19 antibodies are unlikely to get the virus again for at least 6 months, a new Oxford University study of more than 12,000 people suggests

a group of people standing in a room: According to a German study out in August, most coronavirus transmissions occur in private households and retirement homes. Marius Becker/picture alliance via Getty Images

© Marius Becker/picture alliance via Getty Images
According to a German study out in August, most coronavirus transmissions occur in private households and retirement homes. Marius Becker/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • A study by the University of Oxford has suggested people who develop COVID-19 antibodies are unlikely to get the virus again for at least six months after their first infection.
  • More than 12,000 frontline healthcare workers were tested for antibodies and examined over a 30-week period as part of the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed by other scientists.
  • Of the 11,052 participants without antibodies at the start of the study, 89 developed an infection with symptoms. None of the 1,246 staff with antibodies developed an infection with symptoms.
  • “This is really good news, because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get COVID-19 won’t get it again,” said David Eyre,
Read More

After a ‘Covid Semester,’ the University of Michigan Gets Tougher on the Virus

Dr. Schlissel still talks about testing as just one key tool in a combination of actions necessary to control the virus, but he has come around, he said, to seeing its importance in “reassuring” the community. When classes resume in 2021, the university will de-densify the dorms and ramp up testing. Only about 3,000 students will be allowed back into university housing, and anyone who comes onto campus, symptomatic or not, will have to be cleared via a saliva-based test processed by a faculty-founded start-up in Ann Arbor.

“If they don’t,” Dr. Schlissel said, “we’ll inactivate their ID cards.”

The retrenchment has pleased faculty but upset undergraduates and their parents. More than 1,500 angry parents have signed a petition protesting the short notice with which the university canceled spring housing contracts. If the university doesn’t “reverse its drastic decision to close the dorms,” it says, the parents want a discount.

Read More

Texas-Kansas among 6 major college games postponed by virus


Texas’ Chris Brown (15) and D’Shawn Jamison (5) celebrates after a stop against West Virginia on fourth down late during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.


No. 22 Texas at Kansas was among six games postponed Wednesday by COVID-19 problems as the virus took another chunk out of this weekend’s major college football schedule.

Overall, 14 out of 62 games involving Bowl Subdivision teams scheduled for this week have been called off. Last week, 15 of the 59 games scheduled were not played.

Texas-Kansas was just the second Big 12 conference game to be postponed this season and was rescheduled for Dec. 12.

The American Athletic Conference had to call off Navy at South Florida and Houston at SMU. The conference will work to reschedule those games.

The Mountain West also had two games disrupted. Utah State

Read More

The Latest: Virus sidelines four more college football teams | Golf

Ukraine risks forfeiting the game as a 3-0 loss for failing to ensure replacement players were available. The squad had been hit with virus cases before arriving in Switzerland.

——— The Cleveland Browns are placing starting right tackle Jack Conklin, kicker Cody Parkey, and long snapper Charley Hughlett on the COVID-19 list.

It’s the latest development with the virus for the team, which previously placed offensive lineman Chris Hubbard and fullback Andy Janovich on the list and had a staffer test positive for the novel coronavirus last week.

The NFL created the list for players who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person.

The Browns have had to close their facility twice in the past six days to do contact tracing after receiving results of a positive test.

Conklin signed with Cleveland as a free agent in

Read More

Rice University student COVID court is helping stifle virus cases on campus

When COVID-19 cases began to spike across Houston, Rice University came up with an innovative way to stem the spread of the virus across campus.  Before students could return to campus this semester, they had to sign a list of regulations and rules to honor called the Culture of Care Agreement.

If the students are found to be in violation of the agreement, serious cases could be reported to the Student Judicial Program. Less serious cases, however, are earmarked for the COVID-19 Community Court (CCC), which is run by the students. If students are caught not wearing a mask, social distancing or even going to a dorm that’s not their own, the student could be reported to the CCC. 

“The vast majority of people who we see generally didn’t realize that they did something wrong. There’s a genuine apology, like ‘I’m not doing that again. I won’t do that going

Read More

SpaceX aims for night crew launch, Musk sidelined by virus

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX aimed for a Sunday night launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station, although the prospects of good weather were just 50-50 and its leader was sidelined by COVID-19.

Vice President Mike Pence was expected at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the long-awaited start of regular crew rotations aboard privately owned and operated capsules. It also marked only the second time in nearly a decade that astronauts were set to rocket into orbit from the U.S.

“Game day!” tweeted NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the crew commander.

As nearby towns braced for an onslaught of spectators, SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk disclosed via Twitter that he “most likely” has a moderate case of coronavirus, despite mixed test results.

NASA policy is that anyone testing positive for the virus to quarantine and remain isolated.

Musk remained upbeat. “Astronaut launch today!” he tweeted Sunday

Read More

SpaceX’s Musk gets mixed virus tests on eve of crew launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX chief Elon Musk may have to steer clear of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after getting mixed COVID-19 test results on the eve of his company’s second crew launch.

Musk took to Twitter on Friday to say he tested positive for coronavirus, then negative twice, then positive again. He said he wasn’t feeling too well the past few days — sniffles, cough, low fever — but currently had no symptoms.

“So ‘Elon Musk Tests Negative for Covid’ is an equally correct title,” he tweeted.

Musk said his first tests were rapid tests, and he was awaiting the results of lab tests. The 15-minute rapid tests are less sensitive than the lab tests, which taken longer to process.

At a news conference, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he expects SpaceX “to do any contact tracing that is appropriate.” He stressed it is NASA policy that anyone

Read More

Bullard: ‘Household level’ virus spread may require new ‘education initiative’

FILE PHOTO: James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, leaves the three-day “Challenges for Monetary Policy” conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S., August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Crosby

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The coronavirus may be spreading faster now “at the household level” rather than in business settings, and a new U.S. push for changes in personal behavior may be needed to control it, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Friday.

With case growth hitting records and death rates and hospitalizations rising, Bullard noted that since restrictions on many commercial activities remain in place, “it may be that renewed increases in infections are coming more from personal interactions at the household level.”

If so, “a renewed public education initiative asking households to take actions to reduce disease transmission may be helpful”, Bullard said in webcast remarks to the Economic Club of Memphis.

In his prepared remarks

Read More