unvaccinated students led Covid outbreak at University of Chicago

The University of Chicago

Bob Krist | Getty Images

According to a study published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new Covid-19 cases at the University of Chicago increased rapidly this year after students, most of whom were not fully vaccinated, left the spring break had returned.

Despite several prevention strategies at the university, such as weekly tests for students living on campus, between March 15 and March 3,

Of 140 infected students interviewed, 89 said they had recently traveled outside of Chicago for the spring break, and 57 attended an unmasked indoor social gathering such as a dinner or party, the agency said.

The destinations included seven different countries and 23 states, most commonly California, Colorado, Florida and New York, the CDC said. According to the agency, the most common reason for travel was vacation.

In response to the accumulation of cases, the university has issued a stay at home order for all students living on campus, banning gatherings and switching to distance learning, the agency said. The home stay order was lifted two weeks later after few new cases were found on additional testing.

In particular, the outbreak occurred just prior to the Chicago vaccination eligibility upgrade. Undergraduate-age people in the city were before age 19. Of the infected students, only three were fully vaccinated, according to the agency.

The CDC said the campus outbreak shows the importance of indoor masking and avoiding travel, especially for those who are not vaccinated, amid the proliferation of the fast-paced Delta variant.

“These results show the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks on university campuses after widespread student travel during breaks, at the start of new school semesters, and when students attend indoor social gatherings,” the agency wrote in the study.

The new report comes a day before Labor Day weekend starts, when many families are traveling in the US and more schools are preparing for their fall semester to begin.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised unvaccinated people against traveling over the holidays this week as the nation continues to battle a surge in Covid cases and hospital stays fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

While the daily average of hospital admissions has fallen in recent days, US officials and health experts say Labor Day could pose a threat to the country’s further progress.

“Labor Day weekend is a major risk as people return to work and school,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaboration Center on National and Global Health Law.

Of the students interviewed for the CDC study, 93 were unvaccinated and 43 were partially vaccinated, meaning they had only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna two-shot vaccine.

The agency found that the study had limitations, including some students who refused to be interviewed and others who provided potentially false information, such as: B. refusing to travel if other students have indicated this.

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