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Coronavirus Variant Spreading (again)

Coronavirus Variant Spreading (again)

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The latest coronavirus-19 variant, Omicron, is inducing whiplash for many Americans read a headline in The Washington Post.

The numbers of athletes on professional and college sports teams who are testing positive for the virus are increasing daily. Yesterday, Cleveland State’s men’s basketball team announced that it would be unable to field a team to play against Duke’s men’s basketball team on Saturday.

Several prominent colleges have announced spikes in infections since the return of students from the Thanksgiving holiday. In order to reduce the rates of infection, some of these colleges have ended the fall semester early, others have moved final exams online, and Stanford University announced an online start for the first two weeks of the January semester.

Even though 97 percent of Cornell’s students are vaccinated, 900 cases of the omicron variant of the virus were detected over the weekend and announced on Monday.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong released preliminary data suggesting that the omicron variant multiples 70 times faster than other variants but there is less severe infection in the lungs.

People who have been vaccinated and received the booster shot are not immune from catching the omicron variant, but they are less likely to be hospitalized than those who are not immunized. The Biden administration continues to recommend that everyone get vaccinated and the percentage of the population who have chosen not to be vaccinated continue to stubbornly resist vaccinations.

The Washington Post reports that many businesses and other venues are hesitant to close again even though Broadway shows have announced a temporary closure and colleges are sending students home early.

The recommendations from health experts are not surprising. Get vaccinated, wear a mask whenever you’re indoors with other people, and avoid crowds appear to be the most popular recommendations. Because of the faster infection rate of omicron, healthcare officials warn that hospitals may reach their capacity levels sooner than before.

Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been vaccinated and received the booster shot, I am not concerned about contracting the virus even though I know it’s possible. I have attended weddings, concerts, college and professional football games, college basketball games, and flown on the commercial airlines at least a dozen or more round trips. For at least 75 percent of those events, I have chosen or been required to wear a mask.

I understand why people don’t want to return to the isolation stage that we experienced in the winter and spring of 2020. It’s no fun to limit your visits with friends and relatives. It’s no fun to experience sporting and entertainment events via television instead of in person.

Colleges will reopen in the spring. For many, online classes will return as needed. As a parent of college athletes, I hope their schedules resume after the break.

The coronavirus pandemic has been bad for many reasons beyond the millions of people who have died as a result of being infected. It’s interrupted governmental agencies, businesses, schools, and our daily routines and lives. Hopefully, we’ll work together in order to contain it and minimize its future impact. “Work together,” clearly not a new idea but something that our society finds it difficult to do.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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