Two April cases
Two new cases have been reported at Portland State in the month of April, raising the total number of cases at the university to 49.
PSU relies heavily on a self-reporting system for people who have tested positive or inconclusive and have been on campus within two weeks. The self-reporting form can be found on PSU’s Coronavirus Response website.
The Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) is taking measures to obtain COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine distribution is controlled by the state and timelines are not clear at this point.
Oregon has paused its usage of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while federal officials examine a potential connection to rare and severe blood clots.
The hiatus follows reports of six cases in the United States of an unusual type of blood clot, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, in women ages 18–48. One of the cases was fatal. About 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered nationally to date, including more than 81,000 in Oregon, according to an OPB report.
Waiting on vaccinations allows the CDC and FDA time to obtain and analyze more data and explore whether there’s a cause-and-effect relationship between vaccination and the rare clots, and to assess the extent of the risk-benefit ratio of actually taking the vaccine.
Cornell University researchers analyzing 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic found that former President Donald Trump was the largest source of dangerous misinformation throughout.
Mentions of Trump made up nearly 38% of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic”—falsehoods involving the pandemic, according to the study.
The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Trump’s impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, to people who ate bat soup, according to the report.
“Misinformation around the pandemic is one of the major reasons the United States is not doing as well as other countries in fighting the pandemic,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who teaches about public health crisis communications.
“There is a science of rumors. It’s when there is uncertainty and fear,” Sharfstein said. “In the absence of treatments or vaccines, honest and consistent messaging is essential. This is what we need to save lives. If it’s not done well, you get far more infections and deaths.”
The analysis from Cornell comes on the heels of a Feb. 2021 study from The Lancet, which indicated at least 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented, stating that Trump’s pandemic response was “inept and insufficient,” and “needlessly cost lives.”