70 students from the University of Texas at Austin are being monitored and 28 have tested positive for coronavirus after spring break trip
From the beaches of Florida to the farmer’s markets in California, since the onset of coronavirus in the states, many people continue to ignore the social distancing and six-feet guidelines and gather in public. However, the most egregious and public display of this was the hundreds of “spring breakers” that jetted off to Mexico and other domestic beaches despite constant warnings from local, state, and federal governments to stay home. Now, 28 college students at the University of Texas at Austin have tested positive for coronavirus after a group of 70 chartered a plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico last month.
According to the Austin Public Health Department, 70 students went to Mexico for spring break and now all of them are under investigation. 28 students from the group have tested positive for COVID-19 and dozens more are awaiting test results. The majority of the students chartered a plane for the trip, though some students returned home on separate commercial flights, putting other passengers at risk of infection.
“The 28 confirmed cases are self-isolating at this time. Others are under quarantine while being monitored and tested,” the Health Department added. They also noted that four of the students who tested positive did not show any symptoms. The Austin Health Department also added that “nearly half of those testing positive for COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County are between the ages of 20 and 40,” a statement they made in the hopes that it would urge “young people” to take the virus more serious.
A university spokesperson told NPR that the spring break trip was believed to have taken place from March 14 to March 19, meaning the students returned home just one day before the administration advised U.S. citizens not to travel abroad, though the Austin Public Health Department added that the CDC’s recommendation against non-essential travel was certainly in place at the time of their trip. Additionally, a day after their return, Mexico and the United States restricted non-essential travel across the border.
“It hurts it does,” Camron Goodman, UT Austin Student Body President, told CBS Austin. “It’s devastating to hear that some of my peers tested positive for the virus.” Though she added that, “I don’t think it would be right for me to say what students shouldn’t do, but I think it would be my best interest to give students the facts, and a clear direction of what’s going on in our nation and how we can affect so many people.”
The president of the campus safety department also told CBS Austin that he’s not surprised that the students traveled despite the warnings, saying “students possibly didn’t believe it would impact them,” but now fears that retaliation against the spring breakers will prevent other sick students from coming forward for fear of public shaming.