Sonja Michaels | Editor-in-Chief
Florida Tech reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 among students and one employee case in the Nov. 20 weekly update.
“I’m pleased to report that we are doing far better this week than previous weeks, with a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 cases.” Florida Tech President T. Dwayne McCay said in the email update.
This week’s number is a substantial decrease; the total number is just over one third of last week’s reported spike of 35 cases.
McCay once again encouraged students who are traveling for Thanksgiving to complete the remainder of the semester remotely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the safest plans for Thanksgiving take place at home, with your household.
The CDC has provided guidance for those who do travel, stating that measures such as outdoor gatherings, refraining from sharing food or utensils, and keeping guests to a minimum can make things safer.
Sonja Michaels | Editor-in-Chief
This album starts out with a deep, sounding bass. As the bass drones on, it takes the listener’s mental landscape to the gray, clouded side of an isolated mountain. A drum begins to slowly pound, guiding the first steps down the mountain. Pausing, a moment of silence occurs. It erupts into chaos before fading out into whispers.
What a way to start an album.
Track two, “Vagabond”, takes us back in to some “usual” Ghostemane. There’s a pleasant variety of sounds going on. The listener is led to believe they’re hearing rap, but pounding drums come in at 1:20 and launch the listener back to early 2010s Warped Tour.
Three songs in, we reach “Lazaretto.” Is it metal? Is it hardcore? It’s hard to determine.
Ghostemane, or Eric Whitney, has roots in hardcore punk and metal. A Florida native, Whitney, played guitar and drums in multiple bands early in his musical career. Leaving Southern Florida seemed to coincide with a shift to a more rap-oriented career; Whitney moved to Los Angeles in 2015, and has formed or participated in numerous projects outside of Ghostemane.
So far the hallmark of this album is the careful manipulation of all the sounds. Yes, there are harsh sounds, but they all feel intentional. They are foiled by some soft, distorted vocals whispering to the listener at transition points. Ghostemane walks the line between grating effects and smooth soundscapes.
“Sacrilege” deserves to be listened to with an excellent sound system. The mix of real drum sounds and hyper-computery processed synths is the best whiplash between metal and synth-pop. The word pop isn’t the first you’d expect to hear in a Ghostemane review, but the first half of the song is filled out enough with danceable synths that harken back to the ‘80s that it’s hard to ignore.
Each song on “ANTI-ICON” has a different feel, but there are some uniform sounds and feelings. These songs are all part of the same journey through the album’s soundscape. In some places it is more organic, with acoustic and natural-sounding instruments evoking images of storms and empty nature, where in others the listener can only envision a hardcore band rocking out in a garage.
“Fed Up” stands out, mostly because Whitney shows restraint when it comes to the rapping. The lower, gravelly mumbles blend well with a video-game like bass tone. His higher-pitched, clean vocals are well mixed, not overly contrasting with one of the calmer songs on the album. It is just powerful enough. A minimalist, metallic outro ties this song off. “Fed Up” is understated – and for that, it can’t be overrated.
“The Winds of Change”. Right away a more organic instrument catches the listener’s attention. The sounds and tones evoke images of ‘90s alternative and emo bands like Sunny Day Real Estate or Twelve Hour Turn. This is the kind of song that makes you want to lay on the floor, stare at the ceiling and drift away into your thoughts for a while. A developed musician knows where an instrumental break belongs – Ghoste nailed it with this one.
Slower parts or songs like “Melancholic” demonstrate Ghoste’s versatility. Sure, you can defy a genre – but he takes it to the next level by showing diversity even in his own fantastically strange sound.
This album is diverse, but a common vibe exists. While paces and instruments vary, familiar bass tones and synth instruments appear throughout. Many of the lyrics are classic Ghostemane, addressing the dark themes he is known for.
Whitney takes the influences of rap, hardcore, punk, and more, pulling them all together to create an album that defies any one genre. Past Ghostemane albums have been unique, creative, and well-done; “ANTI-ICON” enters a new realm, acting as the carefully crafted, complete and refined work of a skilled artist.
In the week ending on Nov. 13, Florida Tech confirmed 35 new cases of COVID-19 among students and employees.
This is the highest number of confirmed cases among the Florida Tech community in a single week, exceeding the previous spike of 18 cases reported on Oct. 16.
“Yes, it may have felt worth it to head to that crowded party or bar, or to take your mask off for a dose of ‘how-it-used-to-be’ freedom.” Florida Tech President T. Dwayne McCay said in the Nov. 13 weekly update, “Yet think about what you risk for that fleeting bit of enjoyment. “
McCay stated that students have the option to switch to remote learning for the reminder of the semester after the Thanksgiving break, advising students who plan to leave campus for the break to do so.
This increase in cases comes during a time of nationwide increases, with a recent trend of daily cases over 100,000 in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that weekly hospitalization rates have been increasing since the week ending on Sept. 26.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering reports that Brevard County has seen 13,452 confirmed cases, with 409 deaths. The CDC reports that 37,059 new cases have appeared in Florida in the last seven days.
This story is developing. Additions may be made as more information becomes available.
Sonja Michaels | Editor-in-Chief
Joe Biden has reached 270 Electoral College votes, making him the president-elect of the United States.
The news comes over three days after Election Day, as Americans awaited results in the election that saw historically high voter turnout in some states.
Sen. Kamala Harris makes history as the first Black woman elected vice president. She is the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice president.
Biden received over 70 million votes as of Nov. 7, more than any other U.S. presidential candidate ever.
The president-elect is set to speak in Wilmington, Delaware at 8 p.m. EST.
This is a developing story. Updates may be made as information becomes available.
In an Oct. 9 update to the campus community, Florida Tech President T. Dwayne McCay reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 among students at Florida Tech.
“This increase in cases highlights the continuing need to limit off-campus exposure that could spread the virus when returning to campus,” McCay stated in the email.
One Florida Tech employee has tested positive, with two employees quarantined as a precaution.
Eight weeks into the semester, McCay emphasized continuing to follow COVID-19 protocols and precautions.
Updates on COVID-19 case numbers are emailed to the Florida Tech community every Friday.
Spring break has been removed from the Florida Tech spring 2021 academic calendar in response to COVID-19.
An explanation for the change and revised academic calendar were sent out to the Florida Tech community in a Sept. 25 email on behalf of Marco Carvalho, executive vice president and provost at Florida Tech.
The email states that the removal of spring break “will promote community health by reducing spring travel while also maximizing instructional time.”
The shift has also affected the date of graduation for spring 2021, which will now take place on May 1. While fall commencement exercises have been moved online, it has not been announced if the spring ceremony will take place virtually or in-person.
Adjusted dates in the academic calendar:
Last day of classes – April 21
Study days – April 22-23
Final Exams – April 26-30
Commencement – May 1
Irritability. Sadness. Loss of appetite. These are a few signs and symptoms individuals may experience due to social distancing and isolation, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“Feeling lonely or isolated can be a crippling sensation,” Erika Pobee-Mensah, the outreach coordinator for Florida Tech’s Counseling and Psychological Services, said in an email.
According to the SAMHSA, signs of stress include: increased irritability, trouble sleeping, or having difficulty communicating; physical signs like headaches, loss of appetite, or being easily startled; and emotional signs like feelings of guilt, anger, and overwhelming sadness.
This stress can lead to changes in sleep or eating patterns, worsening of chronic health problems, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pobee-Mensah said that students may alleviate feelings of anxiety by scheduling time to worry, and pursuing alternative behaviors like classwork, exercising, or playing music outside of that scheduled time.
Gianna Petrazzulo, a junior studying biomedical science, said that it has been difficult to adjust from going out regularly to staying inside most of the time.
Petrazzulo has found some positivity in social distancing; she’s used her extra time to do things she enjoys, like creating art and playing video games.
“I feel like I have a lot of time on my hands to focus on myself,” Petrazzulo said, “it’s rekindled my creative side.”
To alleviate outbreak-related stress, the CDC also recommends establishing a routine of well-balanced meals and regular sleep and exercise.
Pobee-Mensah stated that many individuals are experiencing feelings of grief during this time of isolation, whether it be due to the loss or illness of a loved one, or the loss of work, income or social interaction.
“Whatever grief or loss you can identify, it is important to give yourself time to grieve and express these emotions,” Pobee-Mensah said. “Allow yourself to cry, to scream into a pillow, to call up someone and vent, or to write about how this pain feels.”
In addition to reaching out to friends and family, Pobee-Mensah said students may benefit from virtual socialization methods such as group chats, or multiplayer gaming. Gaming engagement has seen an uptick; concurrent users of gaming distribution service Steam exceeded 24 million multiple times between April 12 to 18, according to the Steam Database.
The CDC advises taking breaks from news consumption relating to the pandemic, including the use of social media. The National Alliance on Mental Illness further advises managing how one consumes information; the organization states that “false information spreads very easily on social media and can have serious consequences for individual and public health.”
The SAMHSA advises making time for conversation unrelated to the outbreak, in addition to sharing emotions related to the outbreak and exchanging reliable health information.
“Take a moment to put your doubts aside and reach out to friends or family,” Pobee-Mensah said, “Strike up a conversation with an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.”
The CDC states that those at higher risk for serious illness, including older adults and people with underlying health conditions, may experience higher stress levels. These individuals may become concerned that regular medical care could be disrupted.
As many individuals experience feelings of anxiety, stress, and grief, Pobee-Mensah advises staying connected: “If you are in need, ask for help from family, friends, or your local community.”
This article was edited to correct the spelling of a source’s name. The previous version displayed “Petravvulo” where the article now reads “Petrazzulo.”
There is a wealth of information to navigate in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. New research continues to develop; clinical trials of candidate vaccines have begun, and a joint study including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed more about the transmission of the virus.
In a time of uncertainty, answers to common questions can provide insights on dealing with the virus. These are some of those COVID-19 questions, answered.
How does social distancing work?
The CDC maintains that the most effective way to prevent illness with COVID-19 is to prevent being exposed to the virus. Social distancing, also being called physical distancing, centers around keeping a distance of six feet from others and avoiding group gatherings.
Social distancing aids in “flattening” the epidemic curve, a visual tool used to illustrate a disease outbreak. By slowing and reducing the peak of an outbreak, healthcare services have more time to treat those infected and increase capacity, according to a report published in the medical journal The Lancet. In the long term, the report says, this provides more time for the development of vaccines and new treatments.
Can the virus survive on surfaces and/or in the air?
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine states that the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, cardboard for 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for up to two to three days.
The study comes from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The same researchers indicate that in real-world conditions, the aerosol duration would likely be under 30 minutes.
While the World Health Organization states that it is possible to inhale the virus through close contact with a carrier, the organization maintains that the virus is not airborne, as the infectious droplets are too heavy to remain suspended in the air.
When will there be a vaccine?
The WHO maintains that a vaccine will not be available for mass production before mid-2021.
About 35 companies and academic institutions are working on a vaccine, ABC reports.
Why will it take that long to develop a vaccine?
Clinical development of a vaccine takes place in three phases, according to the CDC. In the first phase, the vaccine is given to a small number of people. The first injections of a candidate vaccine were administered to volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle on Mar. 16.
A 2017 report in the Journal of Archives in Military Medicine says that traditional vaccine development can take up to 16 years. Newer approaches, such as mRNA vaccines, are putting COVID-19 vaccine development on the fast track, according to a Mar. 16 publication from the National Institutes of Health.
These messenger RNA vaccines don’t contain a form of the actual virus. Rather, they instruct the body to make the same proteins found on the outside of a virus. This primes the immune system to recognize those proteins and respond if the actual virus enters the body, according to the NIH.
A vaccine that passes through phase one will then have to be given to a larger number of people with similar characteristics to the intended recipients of the vaccine in phase two. It isn’t until phase three that the vaccine, while still being tested for effectiveness and safety, is given to thousands of individuals.
What other protection and treatments are available?
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is one institute working on developing antibody-based countermeasures. These injections are not the same as vaccines; the protection lasts for several months, rather than several years like vaccines. It involves sampling antibodies from a COVID-19 patient, and using those as a blueprint to mass produce antibodies that can boost the immunity of people who need immediate protection like doctors, healthcare staff and family members of infected patients.
How do I find accurate information on the virus?
Sources for up-to-date information on the virus include:
The CDC at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
Florida Department of Health: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov
The Florida Dept. of Health is also reachable through its COVID-19 Call Center: (866) 779-612 and by email at COVIDemail@example.com
Florida Tech: Updates are posted at https://www.fit.edu/coronavirus.
Holzer Health Center: Appointments are now required, and can be made at (321) 674-8078.
For Employers and Workers: The U.S. Department of Labor maintains a COVID-19 resource page at https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus.
On Thursday, Mar. 12, Florida Tech suspended face-to-face classes for the remainder of the spring semester due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with worldwide cases of COVID-19 numbering over 125,000.
Classes will resume online beginning Mar. 23. As of Mar. 13, there were 1,629 cases in the U.S, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 and Florida Tech
Classes have been canceled entirely for the week of Mar. 16, with online instruction beginning Mar. 23.
The university’s FAQ on the Coronavirus states that the decision to shift to online instruction for the remainder of the semester, rather than a shorter period of time, “was made so students could better plan and preserve continuity through the conclusion of the semester.”
The shift includes laboratory courses and senior design projects. The student design showcase has also been canceled.
Institutions ranging from the University of Chicago to Harvard University have closed their dorms, requiring students to leave campus. Florida Tech residence halls and dining services remain open.
Students who remained on or are returning to campus are to fill out a check-in form to remain in campus housing. Along with standard identifying information such as name and student ID number, the form requires students to list any symptoms of illness they are experiencing, the location and date of any recent travel, and if they are self-quarantined.
As stated in an email sent from the Florida Tech Student Life Office on Mar. 13, all student life events and programs have been canceled for the rest of the semester. Prospective student tours will still occur.
Spring commencement has been closed to guests, as announced in a Mar. 10 email from Florida Tech President, T. Dwayne McCay. A graduates only ceremony will instead take place in the Gleason Performing Arts Center.
The announcement came just under two months from the commencement date, which the email states was done in part so families of graduates could adjust their travel plans.
The FAQ also states that tutoring will be moved online, with math and chemistry tutoring continuing on campus in a limited capacity.
At a student leader luncheon on Mar. 5, McCay said that Florida Tech students were still traveling to areas under travel advisories.
“We have students going to Japan and to Italy that we’re aware of,” McCay said. “If you are going to go to one of the areas around, Italy, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, any of those areas, you should let us know.” Japan is currently under a level two travel advisory from the CDC, with high-risk travelers such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions recommended to avoid nonessential travel.
Italy remains at a level three, one of 32 European countries under CDC’s highest level of the travel advisory.
Standard precautions for illness prevention are advised by the CDC.
Proper handwashing includes washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including forearms, backs of hands, and under nails. If soap and water are not available, a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is advised.
Coughs and sneezes should be covered, and hands washed immediately after.
What to do if you are sick
The CDC states that those who are mildly ill with the Coronavirus are able to recover at home in isolation, with no travel outside of the home except for medical care.
Anyone with a confirmed or possible case of the virus should call ahead to their healthcare provider before going to allow the provider to take precautionary measures.
The CDC also advises that someone ill with the virus should wear a face mask if they must share a space, such as a bedroom or healthcare provider’s office with other people.
Routine cleaning of high-touch surfaces is recommended, including doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, and tabletops.