New IU president Whitten tests positive for COVID

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Pamela Whitten

New Indiana University President Pamela Whitten has tested positive for COVID-19, she said in an email Thursday.

Whitten, who took over at IU on July 1, said she began experiencing “mild cold symptoms” Thursday morning before being tested.

Whitten said in the email that she has been fully vaccinated for months. Despite the vaccine’s failure to stop the virus, she said she was thankful that it was likely protecting her from more serious symptoms.

“Gratefully, my symptoms are mild, and I will continue to work and lead the university during this time from my home office,” Whitten wrote in the email. “I look forward to being back in the office soon and to seeing all of you on campus for the fall semester.”

Whitten was most recently the leader of fast-growing Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

The Indiana University board of trustees voted in mid-April to hire her as IU’s 19th president, making her the first woman to lead the state’s largest university system.

In recent days, Whitten has been busy meeting with VIPs and media in central Indiana. Among her guests in Bloomington on Tuesday was Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.

So-called breakthrough cases like Whitten’s, in which fully vaccinated people test positive for COVID-19, are extremely rare. The Indiana Department of Health on Thursday reported 3,198 breakthrough cases, accounting for 0.11% of fully vaccinated individuals in the state.

The state reported 152 breakthrough hospitalizations, or 0.005% of fully vaccinated individuals, and 46 breakthrough deaths, or 0.002% of fully vaccinated individuals.

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13 thoughts on “New IU president Whitten tests positive for COVID

  1. This is a perfect example of why IU’s vaccine mandate is so important—although breakthrough cases are rare, interacting with the unvaccinated and unmasked is still risky

  2. IBJ, can we please remove anti-vax disinformation such as the comment above that “the vaccine isn’t very effective”? This is exactly the kind of Trump-inspired propaganda that has allowed the Delta variant to spread like wildfire among mostly unvaccinated people. The longer we allow large swaths of the population to go without a vaccine because they believe the disinformation, the greater the likelihood that something even worse than Delta will emerge. That is why the surgeon general has now correctly declared disinformation to be a health threat, just like smoking. Do you allow smoking inside IBJ offices? No? Then you should not allow disinformation on IBJ comment threads. Disinformation kills people.

    1. Chuck, this is not a matter of disagreeing with someone else’s opinion… of course IBJ should not remove comments that are opinions. This one, however, is a falsehood disguised as a fact…and that is NOT an opinion. Falsehoods about the vaccine that are spreading online are literally killing people every day. It is not censorship to wish for an IBJ comment section free from falsehoods that kill people.

    2. Show us the 2 year follow up data on the vaccine Steve. Side effects data? Or maybe statistics on how many young women planning to bear children will develop issues?

      Forcing people to comply to an experimental process with little to no risk causes people to push back.

      “My body, my choice” doesn’t seem to apply anymore.

    1. Joe, do you also yell fire in movie theaters after locking all the doors?

      You seem to have a 4 year olds understanding of what free speech is and is not…..

    2. Arguing on social media is never a good idea, either, so I’m not going to continue, other than to state a couple of quick points. First, a privately owned media company such as the IBJ or Facebook has the right and responsibility to decide what does or does not get posted on its forums. If they choose to remove something or ban somebody, that is within their rights and is not censorship in any kind of First Amendment respect. Second, I completely agree with you that different people have differing opinions, and it’s not a good idea in general to silence opposing opinions. Third, my point all along is that the original post is NOT opinion. It is purporting to be a fact, but it is not accurate, which makes it a falsehood. There is a lot of science regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines, and as vaccines go, these are much more effective than most. Granted, the phrase “not very effective” is a bit subjective. The OP may feel personally that anything less than 95% effective is “not very effective,” and if that is the case, I guess that could be seen as an opinion. However, scientists who have spent their careers in this line of work are almost unanimously calling these vaccines exceptionally effective, and the statistics back up that educated view. I believe a falsehood that is disguised as a fact (and happens to be aligned with a deliberate disinformation campaign that is literally causing unnecessary deaths) is not a protected opinion, but is in fact dangerous. That is, of course, my opinion.

  3. Steve K. your posts have some valid points but in the end a strong republican democracy depends on people making their own decisions after weighing all the information and disinformation. Not on controlling what information gets out and squelching viewpoints. If we can’t trust the majority of people to make rational decisions, no manner of “protecting them from disinformation” is going to save us. It leads to more tyranny and loss of freedoms that men and women in this country died for. I know you’re concerned/scared, but we will get through this by God’s grace.

  4. I think their may be a lot more of these breakthrough cases because people will not get tested for a mild cold. I had a very mild cold a week ago, but it could have been a mild case of Covid because of my vaccination. How many people like me are not going to get tested for very mild symptoms. You don’t run to the doctor every time you get a few sniffles. You go to work and make the best of it.