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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Features editor reviews visiting campus food trucks Monday, Mar 1 2021 

By Tate Luckey — 

In an effort to provide more on-campus food variety, last week the University of Louisville’s Dining services brought three food trucks to campus.

A variety of food choices were provided for students who purchased a ticket worth 10 flex points. From what U of L Dining has suggested, this event was also done in part to support local businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Celtic Pig – 

Born through a passion for smoked meat and pride for Celtic ancestry, the Celtic Pig serves up everything from fish and chips and pulled pork to scotch eggs and haggis. Easily spotted by its Blarney Green and kilted truck, owner Sam Bracken desired to sell authentic, home-cooked meals to his customers.

One of the favorites among those who went was the pulled pork grilled cheese. Topped with Irish cheddar and served on Texas toast, freshman Cassidy Witt actually went back to buy another for her roommate.

“I don’t why I’m acting like I’m not going to eat half too. It’s really good,” she said.

Get it on a Bun at Booty’s –

First starting as a hot dog stand in 1996, Get it on a Bun at Booty’s is native to New Albany. Providing a variety of diner-style foods (jerk chicken, or “Booty Burgers,” anyone?), they were only present during the 10:30 a.m – 2:30 p.m. time slots. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have great food, though.

The Pulled pork sandwich they had was a fantastic choice for those looking to tear into a good piece of meat. It was juicy, well seasoned, and had just the right amount of “pull” to make it worth a ticket.

Nathan’s Taqueria 

Beatriz Mata and Carlos Gomez decided to bring their food trucks to give Louisville a taste of Mexico. Their options were 3 street tacos, nachos and a burrito. Each had an option of pork or chicken. Out of all the trucks present, this one was the busiest in the mornings.

The most popular food item from what I saw was the nachos. “The pork to me was what made it. It was pretty good. They put lots of tomatoes,” freshman Alex Reynolds described.

Photos by Tate Luckey and Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L exploring the idea of an outdoor commencement for May 2021 Friday, Feb 26 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville is exploring the possibility of holding an outdoor, in-person commencement ceremonies May 7 through May 9 at Cardinal Stadium.

May 2021 graduates and 2020 graduates would be invited to attend, as the 2020 commencement ceremonies were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Mardis, U of L dean of students and vice provost for student affairs, detailed the university’s desire to consider this option.

“We wanted to have commencement all along. We’ve done surveying and talked with a lot of different students and gotten feedback through SGA representation,” Mardis said. “Having it outdoors would be safer than having it indoors and it would be a bigger venue. Safety is our number one concern, but we have this strong desire to have an in-person ceremony because we know that that’s what students want.”

Stephanie Reibert, U of L’s commencement coordinator, discussed how the university plans to abide by COVID-19 guidelines for such an event.

“We are going to follow all university, state and CDC guidelines for precautions. So, there will be physical distancing at all times amongst the graduates and the guests,” she said. “Although it’s an outdoor event masks are going to be required at all times.”

There will also be hand sanitizing stations, sanitation of the podium, and ongoing discussions of how to handle the entry of people into the stadium so that there will be fewer touch points. Further, Mardis mentioned the likelihood that tickets for the event will be electronic to reduce interactions among staff and guests.

He also stated the importance of staying responsive and flexible with the changing nature of the pandemic. The university plans to make adjustments to commencement plans as the situation changes.

For graduates, the number of guests they can bring with them will likely be restricted. The university has limited capacity on the number of people that can be present at Cardinal Stadium.

“Our goal is to allow a safe number of guests to celebrate each graduate, but that number is still to be determined based on the state of the virus and the guidelines at that time,” Reibert said. “The number of guests allowed per each graduate will also depend on how many graduates will be participating in the ceremonies, which the university is gathering numbers on now.”

The university will come to a final decision about whether to host the outdoor ceremonies, and specific details, sometime in March.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Stay home: Traveling over spring break is a risk you shouldn’t take Tuesday, Feb 23 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

It seems insane to imagine that we are nearing the one-year anniversary of when this pandemic began, for many of us it feels as if time just stopped. 

So many of us feel as though the only way that we know time is passing is because deadlines for assignments get closer and closer. It may feel like we all need a vacation, a trip to the beach, or to Las Vegas for a night on the town. It may be tempting with classes online and spring break coming up soon. 

But don’t fall to temptation. Rather, stay strong, stay home and stay safe over the next couple of months.

According to data reported by The New York Times, the 7-day average for new cases of COVID-19 within Jefferson County have been declining since early January.

In February, the rate of new cases dipped below 1,000 on 3 separate days. For a brief period, Jefferson County was considered an “orange county” as the incidence rate dropped to less than 25 cases per 100,000 individuals.

At the time of this article’s publication Jefferson County is back to being a red county.

With vaccinations coming, and many people that we know already receiving them, it may seem as if this is almost all over and we can return to normal. However, being near the end doesn’t mean that the threat of the pandemic is over yet. 

“The benefits of travel simply aren’t worth the risks, yet,” said Scott LaJoie, an associate professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at U of L. “By spring break, too few people will be fully vaccinated, there are new strains of SARS-COV-2 trying to get established, and we could end up giving the pandemic new life if we stop doing what we know works.” 

The threat that a new strain could go around before we are ready to stop our current one is very real, and it is a situation that we see happening in other parts of the world. 

At the same time, you want to go out and do something fun to get away from the same old routine you find yourself caught in. But you do not have to travel in order to get away from our routines. You can find fun at home under current protections. 

One option is to travel to one of the nature trails or parks within the county and get a breath of fresh air and exercise. Another is to have small get-togethers with friends on Zoom for some much-needed social time. 

“With mass vaccinations underway, the end of the pandemic is finally coming into view. We have the tools to keep ourselves and others safe. It is up to us not to stumble at the finish line,” said Ryan Combs, an assistant U of L professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences.

We are close to winning against this disease, and while it may be awhile before things feel normal again, we shouldn’t risk our lives and the lives of others for an attempt to get away from it all. 

Stay home, stay in Louisville, stay safe and let’s beat this thing.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Valentine’s Day looks a little bit different for singles this year Sunday, Feb 14 2021 

By Riley Vance–

As the first Valentine’s Day of the pandemic approaches, many single students may feel relief that they won’t be the only ones at home by themselves this year. 

For some, Valentine’s Day is full of chocolate, flowers, and cards from their loved ones. For others, it’s a dreadful day that comes once a year and couldn’t pass by faster. 

The anxiety or fear of missing out (FOMO) on fun events is a real phenomenon that most people have probably experienced from time to time—especially college students. 

Lalin Anik, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, analyzed the ways in which FOMO has continued through the pandemic.

“We wanted to see what might happen to FOMO during this time of COVID-19, when people are stuck at home, largely unable to travel, attend large gatherings or do many of the things we would normally do for fun.

“FOMO in the pandemic stems from the difficulty of catching up with all of the things being offered online, far more than we can be a part of or watch all at once,” said Anik.

In the pandemic, this means missing out on social gatherings via Zoom, conversations over social media or other online activities that might only be available for a short time.

This feeling of missing out can definitely be stronger on Valentine’s Day if you’re sitting at home binge-watching rom-coms like a hopeless romantic while simultaneously scrolling past couples posting pictures of their significant others sitting across the table from them at a fancy restaurant. 

This year, however, is a completely different scenario. 

Yes, there will still be a million Boomerangs of people clinking their glasses of wine or champagne together to celebrate their everlasting love for each other. 

There will also be a number of people laying low this year as well, which some people may find comfort in. 

Abby Ebersold, a senior communications major, is spending her night doing just that. 

“I’m just spending my Valentine’s Day at home with my roommates. We’re going to watch movies, make dinner, and bake a fun dessert. There’s definitely no shame in having a low-key Valentine’s Day especially during the pandemic,” said Ebersold.

We all fall prey to blaming the pandemic for being lazy, unproductive, or anti-social. Now, you can blame the pandemic for spending your Valentine’s Day by yourself. You don’t even have to feel bad about it, because you’re technically doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re kind of saving lives.

So, this year for Valentine’s Day, order takeout from your favorite restaurant, watch your favorite movies, buy yourself some chocolate and flowers, and have an awesome night in by yourself. Take pride in knowing that you’re not contributing to the widespread transmission of the coronavirus.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Online classes are not worth full tuition Friday, Feb 12 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

Online classes may be convenient for many of us, but it doesn’t provide students with the same educational experiences as in-person classes. To charge the same tuition for hybrid and remote classes is ridiculous.

“I definitely think the cost of online classes seems expensive. And you know, it used to be they charged more for online courses, which is crazy,” said Liam Spencer, a senior computer information systems major. “I actually like online classes for the most part. It is very convenient for me, so overall it has worked pretty well for me. But I can definitely see how some students would prefer in person and benefit from that more.”

According to a recent article in the New York Times, students at Columbia University have gone on a protest against the university’s tuition policy for the spring semester. Students disagree with the school charging regular tuition rates–including additional housing and dining fees–when classes are mostly online. Students have asked for a minimum of 10 percent reduction in total fees.

In July 2020, The Louisville Cardinal reported that U of L would raise tuition rates by 2 percent to makeup for negative budget impacts.

So not only are U of L students not receiving any tuition remission, they are being asked to pay more than they were in the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Since the pandemic started, businesses across the country have closed, including companies that U of L students work at. Not all students can continue to earn income and pay off tuition like they might have before COVID-19.

The university recommends students check in with the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) if they need assistance with tuition. The SFAO offers certain scholarships and loans for eligible students. But some students say that’s not enough.

“We aren’t using the classrooms as much, the library has been out of commission for a while now, we can’t enjoy the amenities that are included in the tuition. There are online schools whose tuition costs less for these reasons, so it doesn’t make sense as to how Louisville can justify why they aren’t lowering their tuition to match those online schools,” said Lindsey Wright, a senior studying communications.

When classes are remote, students don’t get the same valuable face-to-face interactions with classmates. This makes it hard to make connections with peers or network with professors.

Networking with others is important for students about to enter the job market.

Debra Feldman, a member of Columbia’s Career Coaches Network, said that whenever you aren’t actively networking, “you are missing out on opportunities and actually making it easier for competitors to grab the position that could be yours.”

But online classes hinder students from meeting their professors in the traditional way, which means professors probably won’t get the chance to communicate as closely with students. That could hurt your chances of having professors be references for future jobs and careers.

It’s not fair for any school to ask students to pay the same rates as they charged for the last academic year.

And as a U of L student, you shouldn’t have to tolerate it, either.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal

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