September 9, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Delays Mar COVID-19 Dashboard’

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To the Editor:

Cornell gets a failing grade on the COVID-19 dashboard, and many other aspects of their much vaunted plan on how they were going to succeed in providing a safe, in person semester.

As a local resident who was among many who were distressed and unhappy about the risks to the community that would be assumed with the return of students, I tried to take some small solace in Cornell’s repeated — and repeated — assurances and promises that their plan would work, in large part because of the aggressive testing program that would quickly identify infected students and get them into isolation, presumably before they could spread the virus much farther.  And yet, there is still a delay in surveillance testing results. So what does that mean for the quick containment of any infected students? No clue.

This delay also makes it impossible to decipher the department of health’s numbers in a way that is of much use to the local community in evaluating the current circumstances and risk.  I see that there are more active cases than I recall seeing at any other time since the pandemic started, and I could assume most of those cases are students.  But how can I know for sure?  And knowing is important to residents like myself, because we might conduct our daily lives one way if we know those cases are confined to students vs. knowing that many are in the general population.

Cornell had months to develop this dashboard and work out any kinks, including how to coordinate with DOH reporting.  So, if this was a student project that was submitted for a grade, what grade do you think it should get?

Paula Amols ’75