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Despite a vaccine mandate, Cornell University shuts down campus due to a COVID outbreak—how here’s it happened.

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Barnes Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Since the 7th of December, the school has registered 930 cases of COVID that have been reported as new, and the Omicron variation is believed to be the source of the “substantial percentage” of these instances.

Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has closed its doors following the receipt of 930 cases of COVID-19 in the period from December 7 to December 7. Cornell University reported 276 new positive tests on December 13 only.

Cornell has been upgraded to the “red warning for high risk” warning, despite having an overall vaccination rate of 97 percent and checking students for COVID-19 every week. In the absence of adequate quarantine, isolation, or local hospital capacity this level of warning indicates the possibility of a “substantial increase in the frequency.” Cornell President Martha E. Pollack noted in a letter to the community of the school on the 14th of December that the virus was spreading “rapidly” throughout students, a group which was required to adhere to the school’s mandate to immunize students that require students to present evidence of vaccination or exemption before the end of today. Although the number of cases among faculty members and staff is currently low the COVID-19 laboratory team found evidence of the highly infective virus just yesterday evening.

“Virtually every single instance of the Omicron kind [at the school] has been observed incompletely vaccinated children which a portion of have had booster vaccination,” Cornell Vice President Joel Malina told NPR. “We haven’t found any evidence of serious illness in our students to date,” he continued.

Pollack stated in her letter that research has suggested that this highly transmittable Omicron variation causes milder illness in particular among people who have been vaccinated. “However in the event of high transmission, you’re likely to be prone to a large number of cases, and therefore outbreaks should be taken seriously, even if the incidences of serious illness are not high,” she added.

Due to the increasing number of instances, the university has suspended every undergraduate activity and transferred all final exams online. A “recognition celebration” for students due to finish their studies in the month of May has been canceled as well as students being “highly encouraged” to “grab-and-go” on-campus dining services. Also closed are the library gym, fitness center, and gymnasium.

Students who have been tested negative for the virus in the past 48 hours are permitted to leave the campus, however, those who haven’t been tested positive should be checked as soon as they can and remain at their schoolhouse until they have tested positive. People who have tested positive are recommended to stay for 10 days in isolation for 10 days.

Visitors and guests aren’t allowed on campus unless they’re collecting students from break.

Cornell isn’t the only school making changes to address the increase in COVID cases. Because of rising rates of incidence, New York University has made the decision to cancel all “non-essential” events and meetings such as graduations. Princeton University also shifted their finals to online classes yesterday following the increase of cases including cases of the Omicron variant. Of course, the variant isn’t restricted to campus; as per data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the disease has rapidly spread across the nation and has been identified across all States (CDC). On the 26th of November WHO declared Omicron as a “variant that is of concern” declaring that it “features many variants that are alarming.”

All of this raises numerous issues, like the possibility that a COVID-19-related outbreak might be a possibility in such a vaccine-vaccinated population.

How can an outbreak develop within people who are fully vaccinated?

In the first place, it’s crucial to examine the COVID-19 vaccine data we’ve accumulated so far. These vaccinations did well in clinical trials when it came to preventing COVID-19

  • 95 percent Pfizer-BioNTech
  • 94.1 percent Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson has a 66.3 percent market share.

Based on William Schaffner, MD, an expert on infectious diseases as well as a professor in the Nashville’s Vanderbilt University School of Medicine the vaccines were not widely examined prior to when the Delta version became the standard version in the US which could make the actual numbers lower.

Dr. Schaffner explains, “The COVID-19 vaccinations are great however they’re not perfect.” Amesh A. Adalja, MD is an expert on infectious diseases and senior researcher in the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore is in agreement. He said to Health, “Vaccines are not magic Force fields.”

As per Dr. Adalja, the immunizations are efficient in keeping people away from the hospital. “The goal of vaccinations is to protect against major infections but not all infections,” he explains.

The growth of Omicron variation has added an element of confusion. Based on the current evidence that the variant may be able to resist a portion of the COVID-19 vaccine. As per the doctor. Adalja, the Omicron version “is believed to cause breakthroughs more quickly.” Pfizer recently advised patients to consider a booster dose due to the fact that Omicron has “seriously affected” the effectiveness of its two-shot therapy to kill the virus.

However, there’s one important restriction: Cornell tests its students regularly, “and as a result, they are able to detect a variety of asymptomatic and not symptomatic illnesses” according to Dr. Schaffner. Even though some of these vaccine-vaccinated teens are getting sick, however, they may not have realized that they were suffering from COVID-19 until the time they had been examined.

What is this implying regarding COVID-19 vaccinations?

According to experts, they are essential to fight the disease and ensure that one is safe. “In the normal population, people likely wouldn’t be examined,” Dr. Schaffner says. “The vaccination seems to reduce the signs at a minimal level, should they ever occur.”

He says that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective “are very effective in keeping patients away from hospitals. We must keep revisiting.”

What are your options in terms of defense?

There are some ways you can act according to your doctor to decrease your chance of becoming sick:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Once you’re ready, take an adrenaline shot.
  • If you’re in public don’t forget to wear a face mask.
  • Take into account your personal risks and make the appropriate decisions.

“Think about whether you should attend groups that are indoor If you belong to an extremely risky group,” Dr. Schaffner suggests. As the holidays get closer it is recommended to conduct quick tests in the morning before gatherings for the family just to be safe.

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