Dec. 3 - Is the pandemic worsening? UCI Health keeps hope alive
Through holes: Glass panes on the Engineering Hall have been fitted with new perforated metal corners. Photo by Ian Parker
Today’s question is fielded by David Souleles, director of UCI’s COVID-19 Response Team:
We see and hear a lot about the new omicron variant: Is the pandemic getting better or getting worse?
As we wait for public health experts’ work to learn more about the omicron variant – including its transmissibility, severity and the effectiveness of current vaccines in protecting against the new variant – it is easy to forget how different our circumstances are today than they were a year ago at this time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Nov. 30, 2020, the United States’ seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases was 160,115; on Nov. 29, 2021, it was half that at 80,230 cases. Here on campus during the week of Thanksgiving last year, 36 cases were reported among students, staff and faculty and signaled the beginning of the winter surge. This year, we saw just a quarter of that, eight cases, reported the week of Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that is with a fully populated campus this year as opposed to all of us living under the 2020 stay-at-home orders.
Why is that? A big part of that success here at UCI is the fact that our campus is highly vaccinated, with 98% of our students and 96% of our employees fully vaccinated. So, as we wait for additional information on omicron, what can you do right now? Keep doing what you have been doing. Get yourself and those around you vaccinated, including booster doses. Wear masks while indoors in public places. Do your daily symptom check, get tested and stay home if you are ill. We will continue to keep the campus community updated as more information is learned about omicron, including if there are any changes to our prevention strategies.
UCI ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS
Actor Thomas Varga gives new meaning to “wooden performance” in this radical reimagining of Helena Modjeska illustrations. Promotional photo from Claire Trevor School of the Arts.
‘Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale’ brings whimsy to UCI stage
“Madame Modjeska’s Fairytale: A Whimsical California Adventure,” an experimental film short by Annie Loui, professor of acting and CounterBalance Theatre artistic director, made its worldwide debut in August. Honoring the life and legacy of Helena Modjeska – an acclaimed Polish American actress and the namesake of eastern Orange County’s Modjeska Canyon – a stage adaptation of Loui’s film, with the shortened title “Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale,” is presented Dec. 8-11 at Experimental Media Performance Lab.
Interested in arts management or professional growth?
An information session for the first-ever spring offering of the Certificate in Arts Management (CAM) program will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. Presented by Paul Merage School of Business and Claire Trevor School of the Arts, CAM is a 10-week, interactive online program teaching the skills necessary to effectively lead and manage today’s arts and creative organizations. Topics covered include branding, fundraising, finance and business development. Payment plans are available for registrants. RSVP for the info session. Questions? Contact 949-824-6610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The spring session runs March 31 through June 10.
Teen survives rare stomach disorder
When no one else believed Kayden Lincoln's complaint of a mysterious stomach ailment, UCI Health doctors found and cured the teenager's rare disorder called median arcuate ligament syndrome. Dr. Kenneth J. Chang, executive director of the Digestive Health Institute “gave me so much hope that they were going to get to the bottom of things and find out what was wrong with me,” says the 17-year-old La Habra resident.
UC NEWS AND GENERAL NEWS
Friday fun fact
Tax returns: UC generates $12 billion in federal, state and local taxes that support other public-sector programs and activities.
First Southern California omicron case confirmed
One day after the country’s first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant was reported in San Francisco, Los Angeles County public health officials confirmed this region’s first case on Thursday evening. The individual is believed to have been infected while traveling back to LA County from South Africa, via London, on Nov. 22, authorities said.
Colleges prepare for unknowns with omicron variant
Officials at colleges across the country braced for a potential rise in coronavirus cases when students returned to campuses after Thanksgiving break. Then the world learned of the omicron variant, with its troubling mutations and a host of unknowns. With days or weeks left in the fall semester, most schools are sticking with the virus mitigation rules and strategies they have in place, but ramping up reminders about testing, vaccination and other safety measures.
‘Game-changing’ COVID treatments on the way
A new generation of COVID-19 treatments will soon be available, and they matter more than many people realize. They have the potential to substantially reduce hospitalization and death. And they are likely to be effective against the omicron variant, many scientists believe, even if omicron makes vaccines weaker at preventing infections.
UCI Law Swearing-In Ceremony
Sunday, 1 p.m. (sponsored by the School of Law)
Irvine Barclay Theatre: Gabriela Montero, piano
Sunday, 3 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Illuminations)
SOARing Through Finals
Monday, 9 a.m., through Friday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m. (sponsored by Student Outreach and Retention)
Law as Reproduction and Revolution: An Interconnected History book launch
Monday, 10 a.m. (sponsored by Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession)
Tuesday, 11 a.m. (sponsored by Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion)
COVID, Racism and Critical Race Theory
Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. (sponsored by School of Social Sciences)
Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.
UCI IN THE NEWS
Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.
Conflict into poetry, disorientation into art: ‘Revolution Everywhere’ and ‘The Messiah Triangle’ at UCI
LA Weekly, Dec. 3
Cited: Juli Carson, professor of art, curator and UCI galleries director
Well+Good, Dec. 2
Cited: Karen Edwards, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics
Teen Vogue, Dec. 2
Cited: Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of law and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
You are capable of more than you know.
Alltruism (“all true”) is a project supported by the Barnes & Noble Scholarship that aims to create connections through community, compassion and the creative arts. The initiative was part of The Alltruism Project, and more letters can be found on Instagram.
#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.
COVID-19 NOTIFICATION AND RESOURCES
Nine new campus cases
Nine students tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
Remember to upload your vaccine record
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.
For COVID-19 questions
UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates
UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health
Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19
For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.