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The Omicron Crazies

(01/14/22 5:00am)

Today, the News and Observer reported that “North Carolina saw its COVID-19 numbers continue their week-long soar Thursday, breaking records for both single-day reports and hospitalized patients. Hospitals hit a new high point for COVID-19 patients for the third-straight day Thursday with 4,275 — a total that has more than doubled in the last month.” The New York Times reports that Duke Hospitals ICUs are at 100% of capacity — and that is now. Hospitalizations lag cases by several weeks. Meanwhile the Duke dashboard for last week showed this:  

Duke’s Sturgis graduation do-over

(08/27/21 7:30pm)

People around the country, and indeed the world, have shaken their heads at the sheer irresponsibility of the Sturgis motorcycle festival in South Dakota. Last year, despite the pandemic, organizers of the festival went ahead with the event, bringing in people from around the country to a gathering that was a superspreader of COVID. They did the same this year, apparently not learning their lesson. The organizers point out that the event is outside — because motorcycles. Some venues even encourage masks, though there is no vaccine mandate. But we aren’t fooled by those weak excuses. Events like this lead people to socialize, indoors, to share food and drink, to hug and dance and to spread not only good fellowship but the virus. So far, this year, cases are up 352% following the festival, though we will never know all the cases that multiply as the attendees spread back out around the country. Thank goodness we here at Duke would never do something so incredibly irresponsible! Or would we?

Our China syndrome

(12/06/16 3:57pm)

As Duke faculty members, one of the most important skills we teach is how to think critically, how to make good decisions, how to avoid cognitive biases and faulty logic. As we make one of the most important decisions in the history of the university—the establishment of the DKU four-year program in China—those skills are desperately needed, and apparently lacking.