Is GU the Canary in the Coal Mine?

The Canary in the Coal Mine
Photo by Sandwich.

Last week GU re-instituted an indoor mask mandate in response to a spike in Covid cases. And yesterday, the school announced 169 positive cases on campus, the most since early February. And more alarming, the school reporting a sharp uptick in positivity rates for the tests:

Should we look at GU (and other DC college campuses) as the canary in the coal mine of yet another surge of cases?

It would not be the first time an on campus spike immediately preceded a citywide spike. In December, GU reported a huge jump in cases the week of December 12. This was an early example of the wildfire spread that the Omicron variant was about to have. By the end of the month, the city was reporting the peak numbers of this unprecedented spike.

A new sub-variant of Omicron is spreading called BA.2. If December is to repeat itself, we would be likely seeing another spike in cases in DC by the start of May. Or, at least we would be seeing a spike if the city was still reporting daily numbers, which it isn’t. Health officials are stressing that case numbers are no longer the overriding metric they are looking at. So despite schools like GU reinstituting a mask mandate, and super-spreader events hitting DC’s political class (again), it doesn’t seem like we’re likely to see a return of citywide measures.

So GU might be the canary, but the city is insisting we’re not in the mine anymore.


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