COVID Kiosk Testing

As the semester moves forward, Halloween weekend has passed, and flu season is around the corner. The number of COVID-19 cases is quickly increasing.

According to Texas A&M Today, since last week, the COVID-19 testing rate increased to 8.1 percent, up from 4.8 percent the previous week.

Data indicate 354 new positive cases among the 4,444 who were tested last week through Saturday,” according to Texas A&M Today. “Seventy positive student cases were reported on Friday alone. Contact tracers linked many of these cases to off-campus social gatherings with no evidence that transmission is occurring in classrooms or at on-campus events complying with COVID-19 safety protocols.”

Environmental studies senior Max Galatas said he’s not surprised by the continually rising number of new COVID-19 cases and expects them to rise until further measures are enacted, or a vaccine is developed.

“College Station seems like an area of our country that does not particularly care that we are in the middle of a pandemic,” Galatas said. “People, at least in this area, begrudgingly follow CDC protocols. There is not a strong sense of responsibility person-to-person to contain the spread and stop COVID[-19].”

For biomedical sciences senior Katherine Gibson, she said she feels the rising cases are out of her control. She said with looser precautions, it seems hard to avoid an increase in cases.

“I am not surprised that cases are still increasing since pandemics don’t simply go away overnight,” Gibson said. “States are slowly opening up things with less and less restrictions, which allows for the spread to continue.”

Galatas said the quickest way to cut new infections is by wearing masks and staying socially distanced when thinking about how students can work to get new cases under control.

“These two easy things have been the keys to success since the beginning,” Galatas said. “As students, we need to get tested regularly, keep to small groups of close friends and wear our masks to protect each other and our community as a whole.”

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office and recruits his COVID-19 task force, Galatas said he is hopeful that the Biden administration will better handle the pandemic.

“Our current administration is not a supporter of science or truth, two things crucial to defeating COVID[-19],” Galatas said. “Hearing the plans for task forces of public health officials, drug companies, leading scientists and members of the new Biden administration [sounds] promising. I am looking forward to hearing a real estimate on when to expect a vaccine, as well as a national plan for addressing the pandemic.”

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young made this statement in regards to the recent rise in cases saying:

“Even with this increase, there is no evidence of transmission of the virus in the classroom,” Young said. “As a community, we want to continue classes and other activities that advance our important educational mission. In order to do that, we need everyone to limit the size of gatherings, wear facial coverings and practice physical distancing. These precautions serve to reduce the transmission to others in our Aggie community and beyond. By doing this, we are displaying selfless service and protecting the health and wellbeing of our classmates, families and communities. Let’s continue to work together and rise to the challenge in the same spirit in which we started the semester.”

For more information regarding A&M’s health and safety guidance as well as helpful resources, please visit the university’s COVID-19 website.

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