May 4 - Why are COVID cases still up? #IamUCI 2022 debuts
The fourth is strong with this one: To get you in the proper mood for Star Wars Day, we take Anteaters far, far away … to a 2019 UCI Facebook post. Illustration by Rene Gauthier-Butterfield/UCI
n this continuing series, UCI experts answer questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.
Today’s question is fielded by David Souleles, director of UCI’s COVID-19 Response Team:
It seems like, even though we are not in a surge, cases are not going down. What’s happening?
This is correct. We are not in a surge as we were in January with the omicron variant. However, we have seen an increase in case counts on campus. This is consistent with county data and is predominantly driven by the more transmissible, but less severe, BA.2 variant. Additionally, the recent convergence of religious holidays and the family gatherings that come with those have likely contributed to the increase, along with two major music festivals, Coachella and Stagecoach, which recently took place. Closer to campus, we see opportunities for transmission to occur as students and employees gather with family and friends to socialize or participate in organized events.
The good news is that the rate of hospitalizations and severe illness from the increase in cases remains low. And there are steps each of us can take to protect our own health and the health of our campus community.
Masks continue to be highly recommended indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status. Free masks are available for students and employees from pickup locations on campus.
If you are not vaccinated and boosted, do so now, and thanks to the 98% and 96% of eligible employees and students, respectively, who are already boosted.
If you feel ill, stay home, reply to the daily symptom checker for further instructions and review isolation and close contact information on the UCI Forward page.
Get tested if you have symptoms, have had an exposure, or have other reasons to test, such as recent or upcoming travel or social gatherings. Free COVID-19 testing is available on campus at the Student Center and at Plaza Verde, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Home antigen test kits are also available for pickup from campus testing sites and in student residential housing offices.
UCI ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS
#IamUCI stories are shared in UCI Digest and on social media and uci.edu.
Anteater class of ’22 members share their experiences in #IamUCI
A unique and challenging college tenure, one in which students spent an entire academic year learning remotely because of the pandemic, is personalized in #IamUCI – Class of 2022. Starting in the UCI Digest this Friday and continuing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through June 10, Commencement Corner will replace #UCIconnected so that we may present #IamUCI stories of Anteaters heading boldly into their futures with bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.
Svetlana Jitomirskaya and Krzysztof Palczewski say they are honored to be elected National Academy of Sciences fellows this year. UCI photos
National Academy of Sciences names two UCI faculty as fellows
Svetlana Jitomirskaya, Distinguished Professor of mathematics, and Krzysztof Palczewski, Distinguished Professor of ophthalmology, are among 120 U.S.-based members of the National Academy of Sciences elected this year. “Congratulations to Svetlana Jitomirskaya and Krzysztof Palczewski on this exceptional achievement of being elected to the National Academy of Sciences,” said Hal Stern, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Their recognition serves as another indication of the innovative contributions and academic excellence of UCI faculty.”
UC NEWS AND GENERAL NEWS
Archive preserves AAPI voices during pandemic
An Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month reminder: UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Library houses the AAPI Community COVID Archival Project’s archive. Established in 2021, the platform allows AAPI community members to speak for themselves about their collective experience during the pandemic. The archive team includes Jay Mantuhac, a UCI graduate student in public health with an emphasis on biostatistics, who worked with the AAPI Health Research Group as a Cal undergraduate.
California’s population fell again amid pandemic’s second year
The state’s population declined for the second consecutive year in 2021, the result of a slowdown in births and immigration coupled with an increase in deaths and people leaving the state. Years of strong growth brought the most populous U.S. state tantalizingly close to the 40 million milestone, but California’s population is now roughly back to where it was in 2016.
Coachella Valley COVID-19 cases up 41% as music festival season ends
Music festival season has wrapped up in the Coachella Valley, and along with the grass at the Empire Polo Club being trampled, another significant impact to the area seems to be an increase in COVID-19 cases. Health officials say cases have risen steadily since April 15, when thousands of festivalgoers came to the area for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and then the Stagecoach country music festival.
Women’s Wellness Day: Find your Balance
Friday, 7:30 a.m. (sponsored by Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute)
2022 Humanities Core: Arts Celebration
Friday, 11 a.m. (sponsored by Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative)
Pushing the Boundaries - New Palestinian Female Voices
Friday, 11 a.m. (sponsored by CTSA International and Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative)
“Loving Vincent” film screening with Cine Collective x ASUCI
Friday, 7 p.m. (sponsored by Associated Students UCI)
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.
What Does It Mean to Overturn Abortion Rights? How the End of Roe v. Wade Would Impact Reproductive Health
Health, May 3
Cited: Aziza Ahmed, professor of law
Symmetry, May 3
Cited: Jonathan Feng, Distinguished Professor of physics & astronomy
The Orange County Register, May 1
Cited: Joseph S. Lewis III, professor of art
#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
31 new campus cases
On Tuesday, UCI recorded 31 new cases of COVID-19: 27 students and four employees. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
Upload your vaccine and booster records
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.