The University of Tampa has announced that 6 students have tested positive for COVID-19 after partying on the beach for spring break.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the university didn't identify the students, but stated that they had also traveled and interacted with other UT students.
The students are reported to be currently self-isolating off the campus.
Because the students who tested positive for COVID-19 interacted with other UT students over spring break, the university is urging all students who think they have been exposed to call the university hotline.
See more including UT's announcement below:
The announcement comes after controversy of young students continuing to party on Florida beaches despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is widely known that the novel coronavirus has worse outcomes for older patients or those with pre-existing conditions.
However, young adults can still be carriers for the virus, even if they're asymptomatic.
There are also reports of younger patients with no pre-existing conditions being hospitalized and put on ventilators.
NY Daily News has more on the developing story from the University of Tampa:
Five University of Tampa students who ignored social distancing guidelines and instead celebrated spring break with friends have tested positive for coronavirus, the college announced.
The students have not been identified and it’s unclear where they traveled or how many people were with them.
The school also didn’t disclose whether the students lived on or off campus.
University of Tampa dorms are scheduled to stay open until May 9, even after classes moved online, for students without housing options.
Many universities including Harvard and Vanderbilt University have suspended classes or have gone to online classes only.
The University of Tampa, however, is keeping the dorms open until May 9, though the university has gone offline.
While much of the nation has been self-quarantining, spring breakers have been under fire for going to the beach during the pandemic.
Social distancing is key to preventing the spread of the virus and helping flatten the curve.
Spring break, however, is the exact opposite of social distancing, as young adults party together in close proximity.
Politico reports that epidemiological experts fear that spring break partiers will be "super spreaders" of the virus across the nation:
As Florida officials move to expel the hundreds of thousands of spring breakers who ignored calls for social distancing, public-health specialists are nervously wondering what will happen once the party’s over.
For much of this week, revelers continued to cram four and five to a hotel room, swarm beaches over hundreds of miles of coastline, and then gather shoulder-to-shoulder in bars and clubs – almost a model process for spreading contagious diseases.
Now, with their campuses likely shuttered, most spring breakers will return to hometowns across the country where any exposure to coronavirus could set off a contagion, public-health experts warned. They called for greater vigilance in those communities and sharply criticized Florida authorities for their slowness in closing beaches and nightspots.
“What is happening in Florida with spring break partying-on by students oblivious to the epidemiological implications of their actions is nothing short of tragic,” wrote Gregg Gonsalves, a professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, in an email. “While many of us have been hunkering down to try to break the chains of infection in our communities, these young people have decided the pleasures of the moment are worth bringing back the coronavirus to their friends and family.”
Justin Lessler, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the crush of swimsuit-clad students consuming large amounts of alcohol could create so-called “super-spreading events” that worsen the pandemic.
“The students who are going and partying at spring break potentially are feeding into a world where they are stuck in their houses for weeks on end later on,” he said. “So I think they should keep that in mind."
There is some precedent for resort communities being slow to wake up to epidemics. The Austrian village of Ischgl, an Alpine ski destination and party hotspot, was slow to close down its establishments even as other nations issued travel warnings of potential coronavirus exposure. Thousands of revelers returning from vacations in Ischgl spread infections across much of Scandinavia. On Tuesday, Norway said 40 percent of its then-1,400 infections were traced to Ischgl.
We can only hope that these students self-quarantine after spring break... or that their parents encourage them to.
Social distancing and healthy hygiene are key to flattening the curve so that our healthcare workers can tend to those who need the care.
Because the incubation period lasts from several days up to 2 weeks... and because many carriers are asymptomic, the consequences of spring break revelry may not be apparent until the first few weeks of April.