Category Archives: COVID-19

UM Tries to Duck the Omicron Wave

The University of Miami just announced new anti-COVID policies for the start of the Spring Semester. Among them:

  • First, classes will start on time Tuesday, January 18, 2022. However, we will pivot to remote instruction for the first two weeks of the spring semester, with in-person instruction resuming on January 31. All orientation activities will be held remotely as scheduled. Students in clinical rotations will be permitted to continue as scheduled, subject to requirements of their host sites.
  • Only staff who have been on campus directly supporting students and faculty should return to on-site work next week as planned, while those who are now working remotely will be expected back in person on January 31.
  • Proof of a negative COVID test within 48 to 72 hours of arrival on campus will be required for returning students, and residential students will test again upon arrival. If you feel unwell, delay your return to campus until you are better, and we strongly encourage those traveling to have a negative test before making their way to Miami.

This is smart in two ways. First, it means our classes will not contribute to the spread of the new variant while it is most prevalent in the population. Second, it creates a two-week period for students who caught something at home or in transit to figure it out and, in most cases, get over it.

I gather a lot of universities around the country are doing something similar. The longer this goes on, of course, the more it will have a permanent effect on higher education in general and law teaching in particular.

Posted in COVID-19, U.Miami | 1 Comment

One Vaccine to Rule Them All

Walter Reed Army Hospital may have developed a general vaccine that will work against both past and future variants of COVID-19, indeed against the whole family of spike-protein-using coronaviruses.

If this pans out, it’s a game-changer. Except, I suspect, for the 3% of the population that is immunosuppressed (most commonly due to anti-rejection meds for transplants or to various chemotherapies), but even they benefit if everyone around them is vaxxed.

Some help is on the way for the immunosuppressed too in the form of a new monoclonal antibody COVID-prevention treatment that lasts up to six months and is about 70% effective.

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A Defining Fact

From Monmouth University polling via Kevin Drum:

Speaks for itself, with however the minor caveat that people sometimes tell pollsters what they want to be the case rather than admit some truths.

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The Next Wave is Here

Chart of Covid-19 virus particles in Boston’s wastewater by date.

From Massachusetts Water Resources Authority spotted via Exponential View.

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Big Fine for Drone Delivery of Cigarettes

A woman in Australia got fined AU$1334 (just under US$1000) for breaking COVID quarantine by having a drone deliver cigarettes to her hotel balcony.

I guess it’s important to enforce COVID quarantine rules vigilantly. But I’ve never heard of COVID being transmitted by a delivery drone, and indeed airborne transmission is apparently much more likely than surface contamination. And having stuff delivered must make it much less likely that people will sneak out to break quarantine.

Given all that, I wonder if drone delivery isn’t something Australia should encourage rather than fine?

Posted in COVID-19, Law: Criminal Law | 1 Comment

Latest Wrinkle in DeSantis Plot to Kill More Floridians

DeSantis COVID PolicyI so wish I were making this up. Our glorious Governor, Ron DeSantis (R-Covid), has hatched a new plot to spread the pandemic in Florida: he’s inviting all the law enforcement officers from other states who got fired for not getting a COVID vaccine to come on down and infect us here.

The reasons why cops and other first responders need to be vaccinated are obvious: they come into contact with a lot of people, which makes them higher risk to contract and then spread the virus. Plus many of the people police come into contact with have no choice about the contact, be a stop for questioning, a stop-and-frisk, or an arrest. Vaccinating police officers vastly reduces the chance they will become both ill and if ill, seriously ill, which is good for public safety because it means they are far less likely to be infectious and because it means they are available for duty.

In hopes of attracting these viral vectors to Florida DeSantis stated that he’ll ask his the state legislature to pass a law giving a $5000 bonus to any out-of-state police officers who relocate to Florida.

As to the argument that vaccinated police officers might be dangerous to our lives, DeSantis has an answer, albeit one utterly detached from reality:

“On a scientific basis, most of those first responders have had Covid and have recovered,” DeSantis claimed without evidence. “So they have strong protection and so I think that influences their decision on a lot of this that they have already had it and recovered.”

DeSantis delivered this fantasy on Fox News of course.

(It’s true that five times as many police officers have died of COVID as have been killed in the line of duty, but that’s a far cry from saying they all have natural immunities. It is also true that the evidence of the relative merits of natural immunity and vaccination immunity levels and reinfection rates are confusing and even contradictory.  But where the idea that cops have all had COVID comes from, I have no idea.)

Posted in 2022 Election, COVID-19, Florida | 2 Comments