Reports of Norovirus at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley health services identified a possible outbreak of norovirus with three confirmed cases following an outbreak among hundreds of college students in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Inside Higher Ed reported on March 3.
The virus, also called “winter diarrhea,” causes flu-like symptoms and 50,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. every year.
The virus can be spread person to person but also is the most common food-borne illness.
Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Those infected can be contagious up to two weeks after symptoms cease.
Norovirus has been on the rise in California, reported SFGate in December.
Students Face Mental Health Issues
Inside Higher Ed reported the Wisconsin research group HOPE Labs surveyed 4,000 students at 10 community colleges across seven states. HOPE’s report found that 36 percent of respondents suffered from depression, and 29 percent had issues with anxiety.
HOPE Labs reports this is slightly higher than the reports of the same illnesses in students at four-year colleges and universities. Mental health conditions also appeared to occur at a higher rate in younger students at colleges.
Fewer than half of the students affected by mental illness are receiving treatment, partly due to the lack of treatment options available to students.
HOPE also reports that 88 percent of community colleges lack licensed psychiatrist or other prescribing professionals and 57 percent of schools do not offer suicide prevention resources.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat confidentially with a care worker at SFSuicide.org.
Apple Battles FBI
In an op-ed written for The Washington Post, Apple’s chief software engineer Craig Federighi warns of the dangers associated with forcing the phone manufacturer to build a security “backdoor”.
“The FBI wants us to create a backdoor in the form of special software that bypasses passcode protections, intentionally creating a vulnerability that would let the government force its way into an iPhone,” Federighi said in his Washington Post article.
It isn’t this particular case that worries Federighi, but the potential to impact other security measures.
“Criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and disrupt sensitive networks may start their attacks through access to just one person’s smartphone,” Federighi said.
Smoking Age May Raise to 21
The California Assembly passed bills to change the smoking age to 21, the Chronicle reported. Approved 46–26, the bills awaits approval in the state Senate and by Governor Jerry Brown.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved raising the city-wide smoking age to 21 on March 1 but the change still needs Mayor Lee’s signature.
Military personnel ages 18 to 20 will be exempt from the new law but must provide a military ID.
Six bills were introduced to control tobacco sales.Other bills include requiring e-cigarettes to be regulated the same as cigarettes; further restrictions to broaden tobacco restrictions in public places; and allowing cities and counties to ask for voter approval on tobacco taxes.
The November ballot also may include an initiative to raise cigarette taxes by $2 per pack.
The first state to raise the smoking age to 21 was Hawaii, where a new law went into effect Jan. 1.
The Lunch Box Reopens
The Lunch Box cafe, which sits above Rush Stadium on the Ocean Campus, has reopened following a long closure due to electrical problems.
Danny Chin, proprietor of the Lunch Box, states that the cafe was forced to close in February due to heavy rains which caused damage to the transformer that powers the cafe.
The cafe was closed for nearly three weeks while school maintenance crews struggled to resolve the electrical issue. A short-term solution was made to provide half the usual power to the cafe, thus allowing the cafe to once again serve students. But a long-term solution is required.
Chin states the school has told him they may relocate the damaged transformer, as well as the cafe itself in the next few months.