Do the world a favor and stay at home Wednesday, Apr 1 2020 

By Grace Welsh —

The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted many lives since its first appearance in January. The world is facing unprecedented crises in terms of public health and the economy, and though it may seem easy to lose hope in this drastic time, everybody has social responsibilities to control the spread of the virus.

While most college students are not at a high risk of dying from the virus, it can very easily be spread to the elderly and those with prior health problems who have a lesser chance of recovery. Many people are asymptomatic, meaning not only can they have the disease and not know it, but they can also spread it to the surrounding population.

That is why it is essential at this time that everyone does their part to flatten the curve of infectivity and social distance.

Deaths will climb high with no intervention because there will still be enough infection created to overwhelm the healthcare system.

Hospitals around the country have extremely limited beds and equipment. We don’t have the resources to deal with this pandemic without severe measures.

The easiest way to do so is to stay home and self isolate, even if there are no symptoms present.

“Time and time again, it’s shown that transmission is ongoing before we have a grasp of the numbers,” says Erin Welsh, PhD, on her podcast “This Podcast Will Kill You,” “This is due to slow testing, transmission before symptoms, and the high numbers of asymptomatic individuals.”

Probably the scariest aspect of the Coronavirus is that it is extremely difficult to know who is infected because 79 percent of the early spread cases in Wuhan, China were due to undocumented/asymptomatic cases according to

That is why it is so important that people limit interactions as much as possible. A few states, such as California, Delaware and New York have implemented “shelter-in-place” guidelines. This means that non-essential businesses will be closed, leaving supermarkets, drug stores and other places that sell necessary materials open. They also limit where their citizens can go, making it so any non-essential trips may result in a misdemeanor.

This measure has been deemed by some to be drastic and severe, but as the governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker said, “I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving people’s livelihoods. But ultimately you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have your life.”

Experts say all states should do this, regardless of prevalence. Welsh said, “If you think your state is low in cases, that’s an illusion. There is no amount of ‘hanging out’ that is okay.”

Everyone has the responsibility to social distance and stay at home in order to flatten the curve. Everybody alike must do everything in their power to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

It may not seem like much fun, but the sooner there are no more infections, the sooner society can go back to normal, relatively speaking.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L Health opens drive-thru COVID-19 testing Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

The University of Louisville began drive-thru COVID-19 testing March 26. The drive-thru is located in the U of L Health parking lot on Brook Street between Muhammad Ali and Liberty Street.

Dr. Hugh Shoff, chief quality officer for U of L Health, said that the drive-thru is an effective way to keep potentially infected patients from spreading the virus.

“Really what we want to do is centralize this to get it away from our clinics so that our patients aren’t exposing those other patients that are just there for routine care,” Shoff said.

Patients who want to be tested at the drive-thru must be referred by their doctor first.

Healthcare workers in protective gear are set up to swab the inside of patient’s noses while they remain in their cars. After the swabbing, the sample is placed in a test tube and sent to a lab to be tested for COVID-19.

The typical turnaround time for testing results is several days, possibly longer. There were around 12 patients tested at the drive-thru March 26.

Currently, the state of Kentucky has tested 4,016 people for the COVID-19 virus. Of that number, there have been 248 positive cases confirmed. Jefferson and Fayette County have the most reported cases in the state.

U of L Health said they plan to have more patients approved for their drive-thru testing in the coming weeks.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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COVID-19: A lesson on compassion and innovation Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

By Brandon Cooper —

It goes without saying that the the everpresent outbreak of COVID-19 has shaken up everyone’s lives in one way or another.

Despite all of the craziness and hysteria ensuing every day, one thing stays the same: the bold compassion and determination of U of L students, faculty, staff and family.

There is no denying the abrupt and total transition to online learning for all courses was overwhelming for all parties involved. However, the compassionate approach to this transition by university administrators and educators has significantly weakened the blow to this huge obstacle for many students’ academic achievement.

Professors have empathized with their students by expanding their flexibility on deadlines, extending additional resources and implementing an abundance of innovative digital learning resources. This kind of compassion and pure niceness is not universal at all universities across the country, so U of L students are extremely lucky to have understanding professors that recognize the stressfulness of this unique situation.

Jasmine Farrier, professor & chair of political science, said she would accept any form of a written assignment from a student that has difficulties obtaining computer and internet access away from their campus home. “Even by text,” she said.

Farrier also encourages students to communicate with their instructors, emphasizing the importance of students consistently advocating for their personal needs during this time. She said, “If we can help, we will – and quickly.”

The coronavirus has brought to light various opportunities available for digital education resources.

Looking forward, these resources should not be viewed as back-up plans, but rather resources that can expand the great opportunities and accessibility that U of L has to offer to a larger population.

In order to incorporate the new-found resources into ordinary use, costs need to be evaluated for online instruction provided by the university. For a regular semester without a global health pandemic, online courses are charged at a higher rate of tuition than the in-person classes.

Yet, when in-person classes were canceled, these same courses were provided online to students without increased tuition rates. 

The compassion and understanding toward students that the university’s employees are showing in the face of this pandemic is fantastic.

However, the university proved there is no reason for online courses to be more expensive besides the fact that it will generate more revenue. While desperate times call for desperate measures, U of L should make online courses more affordable even without a virus outbreak forcing them to.

Although COVID-19 has been a bump in the road, compassionate and student-centric approaches to accessibility will light the path to universal success going forward. 

Expanding the resource options and increasing the use of such, while also engaging in compassion and empathy driven instructional attitudes, will lead to the success of not just students – but every member of the U of L family.  

As the world moves away from the disruptions caused by this virus, let’s urge university administration and other decision makers to continue deploying compassionate and innovative resources that ensure success to every member of the Cardinal family.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L suspends all nonessential research activity Wednesday, Mar 25 2020 

–By Eli Hughes

Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Kevin Gardner announced in an email March 24 that the University of Louisville’s nonessential research will be required to temporarily stop all activity.

This announcement comes after Gardner requested March 15 that nonessential research projects slow down their activity.

Gardner expressed in the email that this decision would affect U of L’s research projects. “We recognize the significant impact that this suspension of non-essential research activities will have on the progress of your research programs,” Gardner said.

“However, it is critical that we minimize our on-campus research density at this time in order to prevent the continued spread of the coronavirus and to protect the health of ourselves and of our university and greater community.”

This suspension requires researchers to stay away from their on-campus workspaces and stop research activity completely by March 26.

Under these guidelines, researchers are not permitted to remove research materials from campus without permission from the dean or vice president of the department. Researchers are permitted to work from home using lab notebooks and data from computers.

Exceptions to this research suspension apply to research that would lose valuable data or pose a health or safety risk if suspended. A full list of criteria for suspension exceptions can be found on the College of Arts and Science’s emergency resource website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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College of Arts and Sciences announces new graduate school policies in response to COVID-19 outbreak Tuesday, Mar 24 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences announced March 23 changes that have been made to the department’s graduate program due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Associate Dean for Graduate Education David Brown made the announcement in an email and went over how the policy changes would affect current graduate students, incoming graduate students and faculty.

One new requirement is that graduate thesis and dissertation defenses will take place online for the rest of the semester. Any student who would like to request an exception must make those requests through Brown.

Graduate school admissions will also be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Graduate Record Examinations have been canceled, so departments that normally require GRE tests for admission will be allowed to accept students without the GRE test.

This will only apply to students starting graduate school in the summer 2020 or fall 2020 semesters who meet all of the other requirements necessary.

Any forms that graduate students need to fill out will now be required to be completed online. Those forms, as well as further information about the graduate school’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, can be found on the graduate website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Uncertainty hangs over remaining campus students and resources Monday, Mar 23 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The Cardinal’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief gives an update on campus life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncertainty hangs over empty walkways and seas of upright chairs. Any other day, a look at an almost empty Ekstrom library and you’d think University of Louisville students were away celebrating some long awaited break.

A week before Spring Break, no one would have predicted U of L President Neeli Bendapudi would make the decision to move classes online until the end of the semester and postpone Spring Commencement.

As the world around us hastily comes to a halt, so does life on U of L’s campuses. While a majority of students are holed up in the apartments or with family preparing for online classes, a few still remain working in “essential” university services like dining or the Campus Store. However as more and more places shut their doors and students are moved out of campus housing, worry continues to grow.

Amber Hurst, a gap year student working at the Campus Bookstore, has been working at the store for five years.

“Things have definitely slowed down a lot, it’s kind of hard to keep being productive,” Hurst said. She said with the state things are in, she’s worried about job security.

Hurst had picked up another job but after working only two weeks, she was told her job would potentially close due to the virus.

“I needed some extra money,” Hurst said. “And now with the Bookstore’s status, I’m a little bit worried.”

Across campus, the Ekstrom Starbucks has noticed a similar drop in traffic. Senior shift manager Davy Adams said they are getting a fair amount of customers in a given hour.

“It depends on the day too,” they said.

Policy changes because of the virus are also evident across U of L’s campus. Restaurants have removed all dine-in seating encouraging customers to continue practicing social distancing. Cleaning has also had an overhaul.

“We have to wipe down all surfaces every 20 minutes. Anything that we are touching with our hands we have to wipe down,” Adams said. They wish though that face masks could be provided for extra precaution. “A few people that work for Campus Dining have them, but they bring them from home,” Adams said.

Adams admitted they don’t feel particularly safe being back, even despite the lack of students. This was a common sentiment among many of the remaining student workers.

“I’m here because I have to make money,” they said. “I don’t want to say that I’m petrified to work here, I feel like we’re doing the best we can do. But as a working class person, what are you gonna do? You gotta work, you gotta make money.”

Even with the closures, and students being told March 18 to leave campus housing, there were still some resources available for students.

Kathy Meyer, assistant director of student leadership, said the Cardinal Cupboard, U of L’s first food pantry, will remain open during the campus closure as long as the SAC remains open. The pantry can be found in room W314.

“In the event that the Cardinal Cupboard must close, we recommend those in need of food search the Dare to Care distribution webpage for a list of mobile pantries and stationary pantries,” Meyer said.

Meyer also suggested students finding themselves in financial emergencies during this time apply for the Louis and Louise W. Wisser Bornwasser Emergency Fund. The fund’s goal is to “assist University of Louisville students who encounter an unforeseen emergency or catastrophic event,” said the Dean of Student’s website.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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Lamar Jackson Heisman bobblehead now available Saturday, Mar 21 2020 

By Cole Emery —

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an officially licensed, limited edition bobblehead featuring Lamar Jackson in the Heisman Trophy pose in his Louisville Cardinal uniform the morning of March 19.

The bobbleheads are being produced for the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum by Forever Collectibles, an official licensee and manufacturer of Louisville Cardinals and NCAA merchandise.

“Lamar’s bobbleheads have been among the most popular we’ve had over the past year and we kept getting requests for a Louisville bobblehead,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “We think this bobblehead of Lamar in the Heisman pose turned out great and will be a fan favorite for Lamar’s fans in Louisville, Baltimore and across the country.”

These new bobbleheads are now available for pre-sale through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. Each bobblehead will be individually numbered up to 2,020 and will cost $40 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order and will ship to customers in July.

Photo courtesy of The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

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Physicians at U of L Health celebrate 1,000 robotic-arm assisted surgeries Sunday, Feb 2 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

U of L Health physicians completed their 1,000 Mako Robotic assisted joint replacement procedure last month. Patients in Jewish Hospital’s Total Joint Replacement program seeking treatment for hip and knee arthritis are the subjects of this procedure.

“The Mako system procedures allow us to better plan for hip and knee replacement surgeries to exactly hit our surgical target which creates a more favorable outcome for the patient,” said Dr. Arthur Malkani, MD, Orthopedic Surgery.

Malkani was the surgeon for this Michael Kirkham’s operation. Kirkham had his entire knee replaced using the Mako Robotic assisted system. During these procedures, the arm accurately determines implant sizes and exact placement of the joint replacement parts.

Dr. Logan Mast and Dr. Madhu Yakkanti, along with Malkani, have performed the majority of hip and knee replacement surgeries at Jewish Hospital using this technology. “This innovative technology allows us to customize the placement and size of hip and knee implants for the individual patient using minimally invasive surgery techniques allowing for a perfect fit in addition to faster recovery, less opioid consumption and improved outcomes,” said Malkani.

This robotic arm allows the surgeons to make precise bone cuts and place the implants to exactly match patient’s anatomy based on the preoperative plan. This technology helps surgeons make any adjustments during the procedure and reach their surgical goal.

With this system, the physicians were able to replicate Kirkham’s knee alignment prior to his injury and before the area became arthritic. They were then able to reestablish his knee’s pre-arthritic alignment with better precision.

“The Mako system gives us the ability to develop patient-specific 3D models of the arthritic area,” said Malkani. “This 3D technology lets us know precisely where to place the new parts and the exact size of the parts needed.”

Patients like Kirkham have reported less short-term pain after undergoing procedures with the Mako Robotic assisted surgery. Those same patients have also reported faster recovery times than patients who underwent traditional replacement surgery.

“I am very satisfied with my surgery and without all the pain, I am looking forward to getting back to enjoying hiking, gardening, yard work, camping and spending time with our five grandkids,” said Kirkham.

“The use of computer technology and robotic assisted surgery has been a significant benefit and evolution in the field of total joint replacement in helping surgeons improve surgical accuracy and overall satisfaction in our patients undergoing hip and knee replacement,” said Malkani.

U of L Health – Jewish Hospital is the only facility in its region to perform these cutting edge procedures.

Photo Courtesy of U of L Health 

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U of L becoming first-of-its-kind Center of Excellence for epidemiological research Thursday, Jan 30 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville’s Division of Infectious Diseases and Pfizer Inc. announced they are collaborating on epidemiological research Jan. 23. The research will be related to vaccine-preventable diseases affecting adults, including the elderly.

“U of L’s Division of Infectious Diseases has a rich history of collaboration with Pfizer through the successful implementation of numerous clinical epidemiological research studies,” said Julio Ramirez, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at U of L. “We are excited to formalize a long-term collaboration that builds on these past successes.”

U of L is the first Center of Excellence designated by Pfizer Vaccines for this type of research. Ramirez will direct this Center for Excellence in collaboration with the pharmaceutical corporation.

As collaborators, they are aiming to determine the human health burden of important infectious diseases and potential vaccine effectiveness.

National health officials and independent policy makers will use the data collected from this research to develop recommendations for the use of vaccines in immunization programs worldwide.

This collaboration will last for a three-year period with an option for a renewal at the end of that period. Pfizer said they selected U of L for their exceptional capabilities for conducting population-based surveillance and clinical research.

“Pfizer has had an outstanding working relationship with the University of Louisville for more than 10 years,” said Luis Jodar, chief medical and scientific affairs officer for Pfizer Vaccines.

“The quality of disease burden evidence varies widely worldwide. Deriving accurate and credible population-based incidence estimates require comprehensive surveillance to identify cases of diseases within a well-defined and well-characterized geographic area. Thanks to U of L’s excellent network of research partners, the population available for research studies in Louisville can provide the data to derive estimates of disease burden that can be generalized nationally,” Joder said.

Because of Louisville’s racial and ethnic make-up, socioeconomic status and proportion of rural and urban population being similar to the general U.S., the city was an ideal place for this center.

The research conducted at the center may lead to economic growth and development for Louisville, along with job and educational opportunities in the healthcare sector.

“This collaboration will provide increased visibility for the university on a global scale, making U of L attractive for high-caliber researchers and research grants,” said President Neeli Bendapudi. ”It also presents an exceptional opportunity for our researchers to improve the human condition by helping to reduce the burden of infectious diseases worldwide by generating data that will inform governments and health care policymakers.”

Studies for this research will be population-based surveillance of infectious diseases including:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacteria which causes pneumonia and other infections.
  • Clostridioides difficile, a bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and colitis.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common virus associated with mild cold-like symptoms but can cause severe infection in some people, including older adults.

Studies for this research will take place in hospitals, long-term care facilities and the local community.

“Within the next five years, what I hope, is we’ll be able to look back and say ‘This relationship was an amazing opportunity for Louisville, for Kentucky, for our university and for the U.S.,'” said Ruth Carrico, family nurse practitioner-Division of Infectious Diseases.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville

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Ekstrom Library gets new all-gender bathroom on second floor Wednesday, Jan 29 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville Student Government Association (SGA) announced Jan. 15 a new all-gender bathroom on campus. The bathroom is located on the 24-hour side of the second floor of Ekstrom Library.

“The possibility of a gender neutral bathroom in the library first came to our attention in May of 2019,” said SGA president Jasper Noble. “We [Noble and Sabrina Collins] both met with the Dean of the Library to discuss the possible project, and emphasize our desire for it to be placed in the 24-hour wing.”

Ekstrom isn’t the only place on U of L’s campus to have a bathroom like this. Noble said that newer buildings on campus are being built with this need in mind.

With Ekstrom being a central hub on campus, and one that sees a lot of student traffic, this made it an ideal spot. “For a lot of folks, Ekstrom is the most visited place on campus besides housing,” said Noble. “This is a space where students spend hours at a time, and often end up staying there late. Ensuring that every student feels comfortable in the Library is critical to their success, and going to the bathroom shouldn’t stand in the way of that.”

This new bathroom came to fruition because SGA felt the library needed a more accessible space. Dean of the Libraries, Bob Fox, and Dean of Ekstrom Library, Bruce Keisling, also helped make this project a reality.

“Many groups were advocating on behalf of this renovation, but we worked primarily with Dean Fox, and Dean Keisling,” said Noble. “They both supported the project and were able to provide the funding to make it happen. We are thankful for their support on this important project.”

This bathroom won’t be the last one of its kind either. “If other spaces on campus demonstrate that same need, we would try to make the same progress there,” he said.

Noble also said that SGA is happy to use their position to advocate for a space like this on U of L’s campus.

Photo By Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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