COVID-19 Cases Recorded In Antarctica For First Time – Isolated Continent Reportedly Registers First Infections After 36 Chileans Fall Ill At Research Base

Antarctica, once the only continent not to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly recorded its first cases. The 36 new infections are among people stationed at a Chilean research base and include 26 members of the Chilean army and 10 maintenance workers.

Spanish-language media reported the outbreak at the General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme research base on Monday.

In a statement, the Chilean army said: “Thanks to the timely preventive action … it was possible to relieve said personnel, who, after being subjected to a medical control and the administration of a PCR test … turned out to be positive for Covid-19,” according to Newsweek. It reported that three crew members on a ship providing support to the base have also tested positive since returning from their mission to Antarctica.

The 36 individuals who tested positive have since been evacuated to the city of Punta Arenas in Chile, where they are reported to be under isolation and in good condition.

General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme is one of 13 Chilean bases on the island, the ABC reports.

Trying to keep the virus at bay in Antarctica has come at a cost. All major research projects in the Antarctic have been halted. As a result, research by scientists around the world has been interrupted.

While the continent has no permanent residents, it 1,000 researchers and other visitors stayed on the island over winter, according to the Associated Press.

In March, as the world locked down in response to Covid’s rapid spread, the Antarctic programs agreed the pandemic could become a major disaster. With the world’s strongest winds and coldest temperatures, the continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico is already dangerous for workers at its 40 year-round bases.

Source: The Guardian

The U Experience, a startup focused on providing university students a traditional college experience with bubble-style resort campus, moves to Boca Raton Florida (Waterstone Resort & Marina) for fall semester after local outrage from Hawaii bubble hotel plans

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Editor’s Note: On August 17, one day after this story was published, The U Experience announced it would host its program at the Waterstone Resort & Marina in Boca Raton, FL.

Last week, two Princeton alumni garnered national attention for plans to create two ‘bubble’ campuses in Hawaiʻi and Arkansas, just as the University announced that all fall instruction would be remote.

After widespread backlash from local Hawaiʻi residents, the alumni’s business idea, titled ‘The U Experience,’ will no longer come to fruition at either property.

Lane Russell ’18 and Adam Bragg ’16 started The U Experience in response to many colleges’ decisions to conduct fully virtual fall semesters. They planned to house about 150 college students, who would take classes online in a ‘bubble’ hotel, where they could “come to live out the college experience with total peace of mind,” according to the company’s website.

On the same day Russell appeared on CNN, a seven-member team of Hawaiʻi residents published a Change.org petition titled “Stop Bringing Nonresident Students to Hawaiʻi During a Pandemic,” which garnered over 11,000 signatures in just three days.

According to Lexi Figueroa, who helped write the petition, the authors also received an outpouring of support from non-residents, including University alumni, who expressed opposition to The U Experience, citing the “selfish, irresponsible, and disrespectful nature of this project.”

“We only have 340 ICU beds to service the entire population of Oʻahu,” the team behind the petition wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “A single outbreak in a The U Experience ‘bubble’ would deplete nearly half of our health resources.” In total, Oʻahu has a population of nearly one million.

On Aug. 11, the U Experience announced that it had suspended plans with Park Shore Waikīkī and Graduate Fayetteville — just four days after the Business Insider feature.

In their Aug. 11 update, The U Experience team maintained, “our goal is to disrupt education, not local communities.”

Source: Business Insider