March 11 - Updates on COVID-19
Scenes from the pandemic at UCI.
TODAY'S CAMPUS UPDATES
Chancellor reflects on pandemic’s one-year anniversary
On this date in 2020, the WHO officially labeled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. “It feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago,” Chancellor Howard Gillman writes in a letter to the campus. “This past year will go down as a most remarkable one in the history of UCI.”
No new campus cases for third straight day*
No student residents or campus employees tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
TALES FROM THE LOCKDOWN
Discovering a Lost Son
When we asked for your most memorable pandemic stories, we weren’t sure what to expect. But, boy, did you deliver. So, we begin our weeklong series of lockdown tales with a doozy from Shannon Ingram in the School of Biological Sciences. It’s our longest submission, but we promise it’s worth the ride:
After cleaning out our garage/man cave when the quarantine began last March, my husband, Gary, and I started looking for fun activities to do at home. We binge-watched “Tiger King,” played dominoes and did a puzzle. I had also given Gary a membership in Ancestry.com for Christmas 2019 and he decided to research his family. So, he took the DNA test, which came back with a few surprises, such as discovering he is part Norwegian. But nothing prepared us for the BIGGEST surprise, which happened only a few weeks ago, when we got a call from our niece in Colorado. She asked if Gary had traveled to New Orleans in 1972, when he was 21. Gary said yes, and she replied, “Then I hope you are sitting down. You have another son who is 47 years old and lives in Denver, and he would like to talk with you. He got a DNA connection notice from Ancestry.”
Sure enough, Gary had enjoyed a three-day romance with an 18-year-old girl from North Carolina. They never traded contact information. She went home, married her then-boyfriend and was sure the baby was his. They divorced when their son was still very young. We learned all this when we connected with Gary’s newfound son, Rich, an attorney, and his family that evening via Zoom. Rich looks exactly like Gary and our son, Cory, and he was absolutely thrilled to know he has a “real dad.” His two sons, 19 and 18, look just like our grandson. Rich and Cory also connected and talked for hours.
This week, Rich and his wife, Kelleen, came to spend a day with us in Newport Beach. We are grateful to have had our vaccines. If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I’m not sure any of us would have found each other. Gary may not have done his DNA test. And Rich’s wife may not have checked Ancestry to gather her and Rich’s DNA information for a wellness program they purchased just after Christmas. That’s when she saw the “possible parental contact” on Rich’s page and reached out to our niece.
COVID brought us more than a silver lining. We got a miracle!
GENERAL COVID-19 NEWS
This section curates noteworthy coronavirus news, trends and opinions. No endorsement by UCI is implied. Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and OC Register ;for students, faculty and staff.
Former presidents do vaccine PSA
In a one-minute spot released Wednesday by the Ad Council, ex-presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama urge Americans to get inoculated.
Much of SoCal likely to start reopening this weekend
The counties of Orange, L.A. and San Bernardino are expected to advance to the red tier this weekend, which will allow them to reopen indoor dining, movie theaters and gyms at limited capacity.
California to add new tier: green
When the governor’s tier reopening system began last August, the color green was intentionally left out. “We don’t believe that there’s a green light that says, ‘Go back to the way things were,’” Gov. Newsom said at the time. But on Wednesday, he said the state is now working on a green tier.
Golden State could get $150B from federal relief bill
The massive COVID spending bill that Congress approved Wednesday will pump more than $150 billion into California’s economy, including a $26 billion windfall for the state’s already burgeoning budget surplus.
Vaccine now available at select Target stores
The COVID vaccine is being offered by more than 600 CVS in-store pharmacies at Target stores across 17 states, including California.
California inmates may have reached herd immunity
Coronavirus cases have spread so extensively through seven California prisons that inmates may have reached herd immunity, according to a Sacramento Bee review of infection data. Experts said more than 70% of the inmates have tested positive for the illness, minimizing the potential for even more spread.
HOPE, INSPIRATION, LAUGHTER
Amid the heartbreaking loss of life and economic hardship wrought by the coronavirus, we recognize the need for stories of kindness, hope, courage and humor.
SF Opera develops safe singing mask for rehearsals
In a strange marriage of art and science, the San Francisco Opera’s costume department teamed with doctors from UCSF to create a mask that enables the company’s singers to safely rehearse together.
With support from UCI Student Affairs, student Karishma Muthukumar, who is UCI’s Dalai Lama scholar and a Barnes & Noble College Scholar, led a campuswide call for letters of support to UCI students. The initiative was part of The All-truism project, and more letters can be found on Instagram. All-truism (“we can all be true”) is a new project supported by the Barnes & Noble Scholarship that aims to create connections through community, compassion and the creative arts.
If you have a shoutout, or if you’d like to share what you’ve been up to during the pandemic, send photos and/or words about your activities, workstation, volunteering, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.
* Potential workplace exposure: UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.