The pandemic isn’t over. Please stop going out to bars and restaurants Wednesday, Jan 20 2021 

By Riley Vance–

Young people—college students, in particular—have received a bad reputation regarding their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This reputation didn’t come unearned, however. College students need to exhibit more maturity and stay in to protect the people around them while the world battles this pandemic.

As vaccines are rolling out across the U.S., we are nearing a hopeful close to the chapter that is the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is great news, it seems that it couldn’t come sooner with recent chatter about students heading out to bars despite the pandemic. 

Last week, Student Body President Sabrina Collins posted pictures outside of the Granville Pub, a sports bar located on S. 3rd Street. The Jan. 14 pictures show students neither social distancing or wearing masks waiting to enter the bar were uploaded on Twitter. These pictures sparked a trend of calling people out and holding members of the U of L community responsible. 

“I cannot overemphasize how important it is for students to continue to take this pandemic seriously and socialize safely,” said Collins. “We know that going to bars and seeing large crowds of people are unnecessarily dangerous behavior. Just because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (i.e., vaccines) doesn’t mean we can act like it’s already here. The fact of the matter is that people are dying of COVID every day and going to bars just isn’t worth it.” 

According to the U of L COVID-19 Dashboard, the university experienced a peak in cases in December with a 4.54% positivity rate—the second highest positivity rate since U of L started offering testing for students in August 2020. This number will more than likely only continue to rise as students return to campus after the break. 

Not only is the positivity rate for U of L increasing, but the positivity rate for Kentucky is a whopping 11.74% according to the Department of Public Health and Wellness. 

The data provided by the DPHW also shows that 18.4% of cases in Kentucky are seen in people between the ages of 20-29. This means that 20-29 year olds represent nearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 cases, making them the age group with the highest rate of  cases in the state

If the pictures on social media of college students going out are not enough, this data should be very telling of what is truly going on. The university and U of L community need to hold students that are making reckless and irresponsible decisions more accountable. It is not cool to put the lives of others at risk.

Photo by Anthony Riley//The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L’s COVID-19 dashboard doesn’t help students Tuesday, Oct 13 2020 

By Zachary Baker-

COVID-19 has shaken our way of life for months and it is continuing to spread even as we hope to move back to some sense of normalcy. For University of Louisville students, and college students across the country, they hope to make informed decisions about being on campus in order to stay safe and protected while furthering their education. 

Unfortunately, it has proven difficult to do so at U of L due to the university’s suspicious communications about its COVID-19 test results. 

At the beginning of the semester, the university said that the administration will be following CDC federal recommendations

Among these recommendations that the administration references, is that mandatory mass testing is not recommended for identifying and preventing the spread of the disease. Instead of mandatory testing, the university would allow for anyone to get tested at will on campus. 

For almost two weeks the university upheld this before suddenly changing their minds and requiring mandatory testing for all students, faculty and staff who frequent campus. The shift by the university came as a surprise, as everyone who had gotten tested previously had to get tested again.

On top of this, the university had promised to update a COVID-19 tracking dashboard regularly to keep students informed. This dashboard does not show active cases or individual people tested but rather total tests completed. 

U of L’s positivity rate is between 2-5% whereas Jefferson County’s rate was 7-10%. It might seem that U of L is doing a great job at preventing the spread of the disease. 

Joshua Pinkston, an economics professor at U of L, has done research into the effects of mandates on the spread of COVID-19. He said when you look at the number of new cases per day on a per capita basis, U of L might not be doing as good with COVID-19 as they say. 

“U of L is clearly doing worse than Jefferson County as a whole,” said Pinkston. 

“The average number of new cases per day per 100,000 over the past week in Jefferson County was 20.6. The university reported 18 new cases per day on average [over the] past 7 days. From what I can find, our students, faculty and staff add up to about 30,000 people. That means that the average daily number of new cases per person for the University is almost three times higher than for Jefferson County as a whole,” Pinkston said. “Anyone who wants to talk about our positivity rate being slightly lower than the surrounding area, also needs to talk about our average daily cases per capita being much higher.”

Pinkston said the university may not want to talk about the number of people tested because compliance with the testing policy has been low.

“My strong suspicion is that they don’t want to report the number of people tested because compliance has been terrible,” he said. “The university’s testing policy has still resulted in a selected subsample of its population being tested, and they don’t seem interested in talking about that.” 

Statistics professionals recognize that the methods used in the dashboard results aren’t accurate to the situation. So why is the university applauding itself for its reactions?

If the reasoning behind it is that they want to keep money coming in for the university then why don’t they come out and admit that to the student body rather than manipulating the entire process? 

The shift in university policy towards COVID-19 is very noticeable.

From a sudden change requiring mass testing in cramped spaces to the unreliable dashboard with statistically problematic numbers, the university is failing its students. The university is putting the student body at risk.

The university is playing a reckless game with student lives without being open about why. If there is to be any honesty, then these dangerous behaviors by the administration need to be called out and the student body needs to be vocal about real change.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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