U of L pushes #LsUpSleevesUp campaign Wednesday, Jul 7 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L has launched a summer social media campaign with the hashtag #LsUpSleevesUp to help increase vaccination rates among the Cardinal community. The campaign is part of the university’s efforts to answer the White House and U.S. Department of Education’s call for colleges and universities to help end the pandemic by signing up for the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge.

U of L community members can participate in the campaign by posting a selfie on social media pages with the reason why you decided to get vaccinated, include the hashtags #LsUpSleevesUp and #CovidCollegeChallenge, and follow the university’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter to keep up with the campaign.

U of L continues to encourage community members to get vaccinated. The university has mentioned the following resources to seek out a vaccine:

  • Text your zip code to 438829 to get a text back with vaccine sites near you.
  • Call the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline, 1-800-232-0233, to receive assistance with finding a vaccination location offering your preferred vaccine type.
  • Visit vaccines.gov to find a location convenient to you or its Spanish equivalent, vacunas.gov.

 

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President Bendapudi shares highlights from 2021-22 budget Wednesday, Jun 30 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi shared some high points from the recently approved 2021-22 budget on June 29. The budget was approved at the June 24 Board of Trustees meeting and projects an operating budget of $1.3 billion.

“Despite dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that changed our university and our world in many ways, I am pleased that our trustees and our administration remain committed to advancing programming and enhancements that will benefit our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

For students, the budget includes a tuition increase of $104 per semester, which Bendapudi says will be covered by funding from the CARES Act. Each returning student will receive a minimum grant of $400 per semester through this funding and high need students could receive up to $1,500 per semester.

Housing, dining, and parking prices will not increase for students this year and the university will provide laptops for 700 first-year students with high financial needs.

Faculty and staff will receive a 1% base salary increase beginning August 1 with the possibility for another increase in January 2022. The university will also restore contributions to retirement plans to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employee retirement benefits, reduced as part of cost-reduction efforts in 2020, will be fully restored on July 1 to an automatic university contribution of 7.5% for eligible employees, with an additional 2.5% match for employee contributions,” Bendapudi said.

There will be no parking increase, health insurance cost increase or change in employment tuition remission for faculty and staff.

Bendapudi concluded the email by showing appreciation towards the Office of Finance and Administration for their work handling the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also gave her thanks to the entire U of L community.

“I appreciate the hard work of our Office of Finance and Administration and the many faculty, staff and administrators who took great care of their unit finances during the past year. Together, we are making decisions that will promote the long-term health of our university,” Bendapudi said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to the University of Louisville. You are the reason we exist. And you are the reason we will thrive now and in the future.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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Vaccine mandates do more harm then good Friday, May 28 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

With the end of the pandemic in sight, hope of going back to normal is rising. For many of us, that means getting vaccinated, removing our masks and returning to work and in person classes. 

However, in spite of many of the restrictions being lifted, some colleges such as Berea College are requiring that students get vaccinated in order to return to campus in the fall. 

Despite my support for vaccination, I would say that this is a policy that is likely to do more harm than good. 

We have reached a point where state governments across the entire U.S. have begun to take away restrictions and focus heavily on reopening their states. This, too, is occurring within Kentucky. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that “the state’s emerging economy is set for liftoff as final capacity restrictions related to COVID-19 will end Friday, June 11.” 

Right now, we are seeing plans to close vaccination sites across the state due to a lack of long-term demand. 

“Not since the week beginning March 9 has the state achieved its goal of administering 90 percent of the vaccine doses it receives each week. The week beginning April 13, just 84,968 doses were administered of 158,470 received — just 54 percent,” said FOX19 Reporter Brian Planalp. 

Herd immunity is incredibly important for the success of the vaccine, but it is obvious that many people are refusing to get it — either out of fear of the side effects, a lack of trust in the government and the manufacturers, or out of spite. 

While I can say that those decisions may be selfish, we also have to admit that the decision to get vaccinated cannot be forced onto people. Instead, we have to convince them to take those steps towards safety for all. 

Not only do mandatory vaccination policies affect those who have disorders or allergies that can prevent them from getting the vaccine, but it also harms those who have legitimate fears about how certain versions of the vaccine were created. 

For all of us who want to get back to normal, it makes sense to want everyone to get vaccinated so we can live with minimized risk. 

But the truth of the matter is that there is a lot we do not know about the long-term requirements for dealing with COVID-19, such as whether we will require boosters every year or whether there will need to be more vaccines for the various new strains that will appear. 

Punishing others who want to get back to normal but want to do so while waiting on more information does nothing to convince them to contribute to the vaccination efforts. 

Meanwhile, it is important to still encourage everyone to get the vaccine. The vaccine is a great step towards helping us move towards a full reopening. 

Dr. William McKinney, professor and associate dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences at U of L, said, “In many ways, vaccines have become a victim of their own success. Vaccines against polio have very nearly eradicated this deadly disease worldwide. Those against smallpox have already done so.”

“Persons who weren’t alive when polio was rampant in the U.S. don’t remember the extensive efforts to cover the population and how dramatic the results were in lowering risk of paralysis for generations of Americans, thereby taking this protection for granted,” he said. 

While the mandatory policies do seem rational for many, we also have to acknowledge how they can harm the very cause that we’re working toward. The policy will only push people away from getting vaccinated or make them resentful towards those who force them to get the vaccine without them seeing the value that comes from it.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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BRIEF: U of L lifts mask mandate for fully vaccinated Cardinals Friday, May 21 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on May 20 that masks will no longer be required on campus for individuals that are fully vaccinated. This announcement follows the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to revise COVID-19 masking guidelines and Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order that allows vaccinated Kentuckians to go unmasked in most situations.

“Effective immediately, fully vaccinated Cardinals are not required to mask in any setting on campus,” the email announcement said. “The university strongly encourages all Cardinals to get vaccinated.”

The university defines fully vaccinated as being at least two weeks out from the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two weeks out from the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

The email reminded the U of L community to remain respectful of those who choose to continue to wear masks.

“Please remember that there are multiple reasons why some Cardinals are not getting vaccinated and others will prefer to stay masked and physically distanced on campus despite being fully vaccinated,” the email said. “Cardinals should respect the privacy and space of those who are staying masked and distanced on campus.”

The email went on to announce that U of L will be lifting travel restrictions for both domestic and international travel. There will still be an appeals policy for travel to areas designated as high risk and more details about the new travel policy can be found on U of L’s study abroad page.

The email ended by saying that more information about the Fall 2021 semester will be released later in the summer.

“Remember, this continues to be an evolving situation and our plans may need to change depending on the latest guidance from the CDC and the state,” the email said. “We will continue to keep you frequently updated and we look forward to safely building back our vibrant campus community with you this summer and fall.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

 

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BRIEF: U of L provides update to restrictions on indoor meetings Friday, May 14 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

The university loosened COVID-19 restrictions in accordance with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fully vaccinated university members are now allowed to remove their masks when meeting indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals. All individuals within meetings must be fully vaccinated to be able to remove their masks. If a meeting includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, masks are required to be worn by all attendees.

Masks must continue to be worn in indoor common areas of U of L.

“A fully vaccinated status is defined as being vaccinated for at least two weeks since the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks since the single dose of the J&J vaccine,” the university said.

More information about the university’s policies surrounding masks can be found here.

To learn more about getting vaccinated at U of L, click here.

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Trust the science, trust the vaccine Wednesday, May 5 2021 

By Alexia Juarez–

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. One can hope that this is the first step in minimizing cases in this still-fragile pandemic. 

The Center for Disease Control claims that the vaccines are safe and effective, as they meet the FDA’s scientific safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support its Emergency Use Authorization 

This announcement can give students at U of L hope that we can one day return to a COVID-19-free environment when we take the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. 

In early January 2021, the University of Louisville announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. U of L Health will administer the vaccine to members who choose to be vaccinated, and the first phase is distributed to those in patient care and over the ages 50 and 65. 

U of L announced that students can get vaccinated starting April 12, along with any individual 16 and up. Given this information, it is imperative everyone is granted the most accurate details to ensure their safety and well-being.  

“There are three vaccines that are currently being injected: Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna,” Paul McKinney, associate dean of the U of L School of Public Health said. McKinney said that support is needed for this vaccine in hopes to avoid another surge. 

The CDC states Johnson and Johnson has an efficacy rate of 66.3 percent, with Pfizer at 95 percent, and Moderna at 94.1 percent 

OApril 13, @POTUS on Twitter posted a video of Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, explaining that there will be a halt on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due to a small number of adverse events.  

Fauci explains that these events were seen in six out of the 6.85 million vaccinated, and those who have already gotten the vaccine should not be worried because “The J&J vaccine has been shown in clinical trials to be highly efficacious.” 

Dr. Fauci further stated that these halts have not been found in Pfizer or Moderna.  

“Over 120 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccines,” said Fauci.  

“Only a small proportion–6.85 million–are J&J […] There have been no signals that there’s any concern about adverse events among these tens of millions of people.”  

The CDC lifted the pause on the J&J vaccine on April 23.

It is crucial that we trust the science provided by health professionals giving us the information we may not already know, in order to expand our knowledge on a virus that has impacted our lives exponentially.  

The CDC has also stated that the vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes both established and new safety systems.  

They have also debunked several myths about the vaccine, including ones that claim it can make you sick with COVID-19, and that you can test positive for the virus after vaccination.  

Fauci encourages that everyone still get vaccinated, and that these halts have nothing to do with the vaccine’s efficacy.  

“The danger of COVID-19 as a disease clearly, overwhelmingly outstrips any risk of an adverse event from a vaccine,” said Fauci.  

For more information, see the CDC’s full myth debunking site here. 

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Yes, gas prices are rising. No, it’s not Biden’s fault. Monday, Apr 26 2021 

By Riley Vance—

As gas prices skyrocket, many Americans have taken to their Twitter feeds to point fingers at our newly inaugurated president, Joe Biden. Just earlier this month, Republican congressman Jim Jordan retweeted a tweet about gas prices rising 20.8% since January with: “Who took office in January?”

As college students struggling to afford living expenses and education costs during a pandemic the increasing price of gas is certainly frustrating, but can it be entirely Biden’s fault? 

Country music singer Travis Tritt also took to Twitter addressing his concerns. Tritt said, “Have you noticed gas prices lately? We’ve already returned to the highest gas prices since the Obama administration in many places. Thanks, Biden!”

Comments under his tweet were all in support of his viewpoint.

But, gas prices have steadily increased since May 2020. We saw a 45% increase in the price of gas in a short 10-month span. Prices went from $1.87 in April 2020 to $2.72 in February 2021. Since Biden has taken office, there has been a 10% increase in gas prices. 

The major argument from Republican leaders is that the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline is to blame for the spike in gas prices, but this claim can easily be debunked by the fact that the pipeline wasn’t even operating yet. 

Louis Jacobson, a writer for the Tampa Bay Times, said that the majority of the oil that would have been carried by Keystone XL would have been exported, meaning there would be little effect on prices in the U.S.

Changes in the price of gas due to the decision to cancel the pipeline or limit fossil fuels are not infeasible but would take years to develop. 

The more likely explanation for the increase in gas prices has to do with the simple concept of supply and demand. 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel and Russia have made cuts in production—this is the supply part of the equation. 

As far as the demand goes, we are recovering from a pandemic. People are getting vaccinated and returning back to a more normal lifestyle full of traveling (to work, on vacation or wherever else they please). 

According to NPR’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, over 187 million Americans have been vaccinated and over 72 million have been fully vaccinated since the COVID-19 vaccine distribution started in December 2020.

This is the logical reason for the increase of gas prices. 

Rapier said you can place blame on Biden, but only for slowing the spread of the pandemic. 

“If you think Biden is responsible for hastening the end of the pandemic, then you can place some blame for the rise in oil prices on him. But that’s because the economy is beginning to recover, which is a good thing,” said Rapier.

“It’s definitely annoying that gas prices are so high, but I think they’ll go down eventually. I think it was a normal reaction from the impact of COVID,” said Alex Wesbrooks, a junior finance major.

An increase in gas prices can hurt a lot of Americans’ wallets, but a more optimistic perspective is that we’re getting closer and closer to “normal” every day with the rollout of vaccines.  

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L administers more than 100,000 vaccinations at Cardinal Stadium site Friday, Apr 16 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

This week, the University of Louisville opened Kentucky’s newest and largest drive through vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium. In nearly a week, U of L Health has administered nearly 100,000 vaccine doses, with hundreds of thousands of upcoming appointments.

David McArthur, director of public relations for U of L Health told the Cardinal that when planning, U of L wanted the vaccination site to be as quick and convenient as possible.

“The Cardinal Stadium site was built big to maximize efficiency, decrease wait times and increase convenience,” McArthur said.  With 24 lanes in total, McArthur said that the site is capable of administering over 4,000 vaccines a day, in addition to U of L’s other locations in Jefferson and Bullitt counties.

As for whether U of L has enough vaccines to vaccinate the entire U of L community, McArthur said that supply was keeping up with demand.

“Between now and May 28, we have nearly 200,000 appointments available at the U of L Cardinal Stadium,” he said. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the university is confident that they will have over 200,000 doses of the vaccine to fulfill those appointments.

Anyone above the age of 16 is eligible for a vaccine, at no cost to them. To schedule an appointment for vaccination, sign up through U of L Health’s website. For any questions about the vaccine, more information is available on U of L Health’s FAQ page.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L opens Kentucky’s largest drive through vaccination site to public Monday, Apr 12 2021 

By Joseph Garcia —

University of Louisville Health has opened the state’s largest drive through COVID-19 vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium’s Purple lot today, April 12 to all current students and anyone above the age of 16.

Former university Provost Beth Boehm sent an email to staff and students about the opening toward the end of March.

“This high-volume, drive through vaccination site will have 24 lanes to accommodate the thousands of vaccination U of L Health plans to administer each day,” Boehm said in the March 31 email.

Due to vaccine supply, individuals are not able to chose which vaccine they want to get. The vaccine is also free of cost.

To schedule an appointment for vaccination, sign up through U of L Health’s website. For any questions about the vaccine, more information is available on U of L Health’s FAQ page.


Photos by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

One year later: Advice you would give to your 2020 self Tuesday, Mar 23 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

One of the last days of normalcy that we had before everything went downhill and the pandemic started to change how we went along with our lives happened one year and a week ago, on March 14, 2020. 

As we reach the one-year mark of this pandemic, we face many questions: When will I get the vaccine? Will we return to normal by the end of the year?  

However, another question that we may have been faced with is: What if I could go back and change how I behaved this last year, what advice would I give myself?

“I’d tell myself last year to stop caring about the inconveniences and distractions of life and focus on what really matters. Friends and family,” said Alex Reynolds, a freshman political science major.

There are few things that most of us would likely tell ourselves a year ago: buy up toilet paper while you can, stay away from crowds and keep your family safe, and perhaps even invest within GameStop stock while you have the chance. 

“Honestly, I wish I had bought more Bitcoin,” said Chance Peterson, a senior political science major.

However, others would tell themselves that they should have been more productive and that they should find ways to keep on track with their objectives and schoolwork. 

And while others were getting into shape and improving themselves significantly as a way to hold back the cabin fever, I was preoccupied with writing and publishing my own book.

That leads me to the major piece of advice that I would give to my past self, I would tell myself to focus on getting healthy. It may not be the easiest objective, but while the rest of the world is falling apart around you, the thing that can help you feel in control could be getting a hold over your body and your mind.

It may not be the most fruitful to regret what could have been over the past year, however, it is not like we can go back and change the past. But that is the interesting thing about regrets for me, while I can’t go back into the past, I can focus on the future and the now.

If you look back on this past year and you think to yourself, “I should have been more productive”, or in my case “I wish I had gotten healthier,” then you give yourself a goal for now. 

You may not have spent the pandemic like you wanted to, but you can always focus on not having any regrets for the future. 

With the country slowly opening back up we have a chance to be better than we were all last year. Gyms are opening back up, classes are slowly getting back to normal, and we can go out with our vaccinated friends. 

While we look back at our last year, we recognize that we could have been better, but we must understand that it is never too late to start doing better now.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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