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Green badge to be required for entrance to BU dining halls

Boston University's Covid-19 numbers have shown a slight rise in recent days, certainly nothing BC-ish or even comparable to the rate across Boston, but enough to get officials to remind students and employees to remain vigilant and practice steps to reduce their risks - like stop going to parties and gatherings.

Starting Thursday, students and staffers will be required to show "green daily attestation badges" on their phones that prove they've passed a daily self-diagnostic about possible Covid-19 symptoms if they want to enter campus dining halls, the student union or certain other public spaces on campus.

In e-mail to the campus community, the university provost's office writes:

Although the number of cases per day is still relatively low, our growing concern is also driven by the number of cases in Massachusetts and lower than targeted compliance with the mandatory requirement for testing and daily symptom attestation. An analysis of our cases shows a critically important driver for the increasing infection rate is the number of social gatherings (on and off campus), as well as personal travel and off-campus visits with family and friends where participants do not adhere to physical distancing and wearing face masks.

The BU Covid-19 dashboard shows 20 positive Covid-19 tests from Friday though Sunday. For the week ending Sunday, BU students, who are required to take frequent tests, still showed a positivity rate of just 0.13%, while staffers had a rate that week of 0.26% - and professors had no positive results.

That compares to the current positivity rate of 4.5% for the city of Boston and 1.2% for the entire state. The BU campus stretches from Fenway, where city figures show a positivity rate of 1% for the week ending Friday, to Allston/Brighton, which had a rate of 3.1%.

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Comments

C'mon, do any of us really trust our fellow humans to honestly do this on a daily basis? It's also a bad idea because it will make people feel safer than they are.

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We know that many people are asymptomatic and that asymptomatic cases are contagious.

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... not entirely reliable, of course, even setting aside instances of false reporting (asymptomatic folks can't self-report accurately). However, does have value as part of a system that can be built out to include, for example, surveillance testing or interval thermal camera screening. No reason to discount remediation measures simply because they aren't perfect.

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My concern is that the chance for damage done in a system where if you think you're fine, you can just declare that to be the case and go about your business. This is like deciding if you're ok to drive after some drinks only you can cause even more widespread harm than one card accident if you are incorrect.

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Yes, someone can be malicious. But if 90% of people are honest and stay home, you've reduced the amount it can spread. And since everyone is tested regardless, someone would be detected as being positive after a few days regardless.

And you're forgetting that there's still contract tracing. No one wants to be the person who spreads it to their friends. So there's peer pressure to not lie.

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The badges don’t just show compliance with the self-attestations, they show compliance with testing - so if a student or staff misses a test or goes more days without a test than is required, they won’t have a green badge. As someone who works at BU I’m glad they will require green badges in more buildings.

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As several infectious disease experts have pointed out, when you have a population that is being tested repeatedly you want to divide cases by people tested, not by number of tests given. The latter number isn't comparable to the % positive rates in the general population where people aren't being tested and retested and retested, but is instead misleadingly lowered when a person has multiple negative tests before testing positive.

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The have both sets of numbers, one for individuals and one for total tests. The difference between the two is slight.

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Yes, they are slightly different from the total percentages.

It's more an issue at the state and maybe city levels, where the differences are more significant. Looking at the BPHC page, to be honest, I can't tell which rate they're using. If they are using the rate per total tests (which includes people who get more than one test), then it's likely the city percentages are even higher, if they're like the state numbers (the daily state Covid-19 dashboard uses a weighted seven-day average of the total tests on the first page, the one everybody looks at; you need to scroll down a few pages to see the numbers per people, not per total tests).

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BU reports positives as a percent of tests, and positives as a percent of individuals (for students, faculty, and staff).
The big difference between BU and any community measure, is that BU’s testing is mandatory so it’s (close to) a measure of the BU population (the denominator is all students at Bu).
Community percentages measures positives as a percent of individuals who got tested, so there’s bias in who chooses to get tested in the first place. Testing isn’t a random sample of the population, so the percentage figures are upward biased relative to BU’s numbers. The denominator is people who feel ill, came in contact with a positive, worry they may have, or are required to be tested for some reason. On the last of those would potentially be independent from COVID infections.

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Witness alcohol at every college.

The colleges know the students would be lying, cheating, horny, narcissists who spread the virus and killed people, but they brought the students here anyway.

Sue the colleges, and jail the administrators.

And jail the partying students.

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What happens if a student doesn't have a smart phone?

There's nothing special about a phone to help with this supposed self-diagnosis. It would be just as effective to pin a green piece of cardboard to your shirt.

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I can't speak for BU but at another local institution, the version of this is a smartphone accessible webpage, so you can complete it on a computer. You can print the page if you don't have a smartphone. I suppose you could also bring the page up on your laptop.

Now if you ask me about a college student in the year 2020, without a smartphone, laptop/tablet or access to a printer, I'd have to imagine we are talking about an extremely small population.

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Yeah make that green cardboard on your shirt in the shape of a capital “A”, that’s really what we’re dealing with here, worldwide

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Green is the color of Slytherin.

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