Commentary: CoronaVirus and College Students
I have heard the argument over and over about how college students who get COVID-19 are at low risk. What we know at this time about the risk to that age group is as follows:
- 2-3 per 5000 will end up hospitalized (at least 4 students in Virginia have been hospitalized)
- Some will die (the number is too low to estimate, but students have died -- there have been press reports)
- There are serious mid-term complications in a significant fraction of cases, even asymptomatic cases. Based on the impact, some of these will be long term, or permanent. These include lung, heart, kidney, and neurological issues.
- Before anyone is allowed in the safe zone, they must be verified to be COVID free, i.e., test negative in a PCR or antigen test.
- Once in the safe zone, the student is required to continue to practice safety measures (PPE, limit gathering, etc)
- Punish violators by removing them from the safe zone (maybe one warning)
- If a student tests positive, contact trace and test, but from a public health perspective and not a punitive perspective.
- Contact tracing must be separate from enforcement
- There can not be any repercussions for getting sick.
- But, the students are prohibited from campus until they are virus free.