The University of Alabama is trying to move forward with in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic, but it took just one week for a major red flag to be raised. According to the university, Alabama has had more than 560 coronavirus cases since August 19.
Alabama has launched a dashboard to show the total number of cases and other details.
The 566 positive cases to date do not include entry tests, per the dashboard. “The cumulative figure includes positive tests on UA System campuses identified through sentinel testing, point of care testing in campus health centers, and self-reported tests from private providers. Entry testing is not included in this calculation,” it reads.
“Our challenge is not the students,” UA president Stuart Bell said, via al.com.
“Our challenge is the virus and there’s a difference, folks. What we have to do is identify where does the virus thrive and where does the virus spread and how can we work together with our students, with our faculty and with our staff to make sure that we minimize those places, those incidents. It’s not student behavior, OK. It’s how do we have protocols so that we make it to where our students can be successful, and we can minimize the impact of the virus.”
Prior to the alarming number of cases being reported, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ordered all Tuscaloosa bars and restaurants with bar service close for two weeks.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 5.72 million confirmed cases and 177,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.