Spike in UC Berkeley COVID-19 Cases Linked to Fraternity Parties
UC Berkeley’s increase in coronavirus cases is making it ‘harder to imagine bringing our campus community back’ as planned.
The number of students infected with the coronavirus at the University of California (UC) Berkeley has more than doubled in just one week.
UC Berkeley University Health Services Medical Director Anna Harte and Assistant Vice Chancellor Guy Nicolette sent a message to the campus community on Wednesday saying that the number of cases has risen from 23 to 47.
“The majority of these new cases stem from a series of recent parties connected to the CalGreek system, which included students both within the CalGreek community and others, and led to some secondary spread within households and within other smaller gatherings,” the officials said in the message. “Generally, these infections are directly related to social events where students have not followed basic safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, limiting event size, and gathering outside.”
Harte and Nicollete said that although the university is working hard to plan for the fall semester with in-person classes, “At the rate we are seeing increases in cases, it’s becoming harder to imagine bringing our campus community back in the way we are envisioning.”
UC Berkeley’s current plans include requiring the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, environmental controls and reducing class sizes.
Additionally, the school is trying to develop “social cohort structures — small ‘bubbles’ of 10-12 students living on campus. The intention is to increase social interaction while keeping overall exposure dramatically reduced.”
Unlike the California State University system, which announced its plans to cancel all-in person classes and continue online instruction through the Fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19, in late May the UC system said it would adopt a hybrid approach. Some UC classes will continue to take place online, while others will be offered in classrooms and labs.
However, UC’s announcement about this strategy was made when the rate of COVID-19 infections was decreasing. Recently, the rate of infections has increased dramatically, as has the death rate in some areas of the country.
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