Area colleges showing rise in Covid-19 cases, although still at levels below surrounding communities
The Harvard Crimson reports Harvard had 195 new Covid-19 cases over the past week, the highest number of the pandemic so far.
That's a campus positivity rate of 0.60% - compared to 5.35% for the state of Massachusetts.
Harvard, which like other schools, requires students and staff to get vaccinated, e-mailed students to urge them to get booster shots.
Northeastern, which recorded a seven-day positivity rate of 0.76%, has scheduled booster clinics on campus for next week. Northeastern reported 50 new cases just on Monday, up from 26 cases the previous Monday.
Other campuses are also showing increasing numbers.
On Dec. 2, Boston University reported 43 new cases, the highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. For the most recent week, it reported positivity rates of 0.32% for students and 0.54% for non-faculty staff - with professors having a rate of just 0.16%.
Boston College recorded 111 new cases for its most recent week, up from 66 the week before and just 17 in the week before Thanksgiving week.
MIT reported only a slight increase over the week before, but even its numbers are higher than at the beginning of the semester.
Campus Covid-19 dashboards
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As always with these numbers
Are they testing asymptomatic people more, or are more people feeling sickly enough to get on the record? And why does this always seem like such a difficult task to find out?
Most of the colleges are
Most of the colleges are requiring all students/staff to test at least weekly, so this is a true snapshot of all student/staff. It is also why the positivity rate is so low, comparatively.
it's more than that
they also isolate those who test positive and do their own contact tracing--and isolate the contacts who live on campus, too. Plus some colleges decreased in-person dining, use curfews, ban visitors to dormitories and buildings with classrooms.
Everyone with a regular on
Everyone with a regular on-campus presence has to get tested regularly, regardless of whether they feel sick or well. So, the reason the positivity rate at universities is always significantly lower than the general population numbers is that so many people who don't have COVID are getting tested, as opposed to elsewhere, where you might be more likely to get tested only if you feel unwell or know you've been exposed.
Harvard is testing asymptomatic people
They have an exhaustive surveillance testing program. People resident on campus are typically required to be tested twice a week.
This shit is almost certainly gonna get bad in the near term, especially for hospitals, but if it outcompetes Delta, rips through the unvaccinated population, all while having less severe symptoms, we might be looking at a spring/summer even more "normal" than 2021.