The Greek God Pan at the U of A

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The Greek God Pan ruled over nature and pasturelands, according to Greek Gods and Goddesses.

The word “pandemic” was derived from Greek pandēmos (from pan ‘all’ + dēmos ‘people’).

One early attempt to avoid compliance with what were then the University of Alabama‘s Covid-19 pandemic policies failed, as reported in the Franklin Stove Blog on November 11, 2020. Subsequent attempts to party on pastureland were successful.

Leana S. Wen in the Washington Post opined that drinking increased during the pandemic. In fact, there were more alcohol related deaths of younger people than deaths due to Covid-19. Wen wrote:

A new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) finds that alcohol-related deaths in 2020 were so high that, for 16- to 64-year-olds, they exceeded the number of deaths from covid-19. Previously, the average annual increase was a little more than 2 percent; between 2019 and 2020, it skyrocketed to more than 25 percent. The largest rise in mortality occurred for people 35 to 44 years old, though rates of death associated with alcohol increased across all age groups.

The University of Alabama promoted voluntary Covid-19 vaccinations on its website. On the page “Protect Our Herd,” the university stated: “Everyone in our campus community is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Don’t wait.”

Just how many students actually fully availed themselves of free vaccinations was never clear. According to the university’s Covid Dashboard, the total number of vaccine doses administered by each institution’s healthcare providers was 23,940. The student population, according to the university’s website, was 38,320 in 2021. The Student Health Center and Pharmacy offered the “COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine series and booster shot for UA students.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that a person is fully vaccinated, only after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Unless students received vaccinations from off-campus providers, it was likely that many students were never fully vaccinated. And booster shots had been recommended by the CDC as well.

Many in the Greek community at the university were fond of partying at a local pastoral site next to the Joe Mallisham Parkway. Considering the apparent lack of student vaccinations, it may have been miraculous that the herds of partying students did not become super-spreader events.

Drinking during the pandemic may have led to more deaths than Covid-19. At colleges throughout the nation, in spite of any of the pandemic’s restrictions on “normal” college life, drinking remained a fixture of college living. At the University of Alabama, alcohol was often consumed by a herd of unmasked students who were down on the farm.

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