This fall, many Binghamton University students are finding themselves sick from a variety of illnesses they have dubbed the “Bing Plague.”
With flu season occurring concurrently with the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are extra attentive of signs of sickness around them. Em Carroll, an undeclared freshman, has witnessed symptoms of sickness going around campus.
“So many people are coughing in my Lecture Hall classes,” Carroll said. “They’re dropping like flies and it seems like more and more people are getting sick every day.”
Richard Moose, the medical director at Decker Student Health Services Center (DSHSC), says the number of sick students the Center is seeing is not abnormal for this time of year.
“Typically, during this point of the semester it’s not unusual to see colds, upper respiratory issues and influenza as people are in close proximity with one another and living in close quarters,” Moose wrote in an email. “This year that seems to be the case, but we are not seeing anything unusual or an influx of unusual cases. We recommend that anyone who is experiencing symptoms get a [COVID-19] test, monitor symptoms and seek medical care if symptoms persist, worsen or become severe. To limit the spread, people should continue to mask, practice good hand hygiene and get their influenza vaccine as soon as possible. DSHSC is offering vaccine clinics in the Mandela Room of the Union this week and next.”
The Center is still not offering walk-in hours for testing or any other services except by appointment. However, students with possible COVID-19 symptoms can schedule a COVID-19 test by calling ahead between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during weekdays. Tests are being administered in a separate tent outside of the Center.
Students can also go to UHS Vestal’s Walk-In Clinic. Patients can schedule a virtual appointment between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m seven days a week. Those same hours apply for regular walk-in appointments within the building. A UHS Vestal receptionist said the average wait time during the day has been one to two hours.
Spencer Freer, a sophomore double-majoring in philosophy, politics and law and environmental studies, has himself been sick.
“I think the reason the ‘Bing Plague’ is hitting so hard is because for the past year we’ve all been very careful with masks,” Freer said. “Our immune systems have not had to fight off as many everyday colds or viruses, resulting in a really potent ‘Bing-bonic plague.’”
Emma Topolovec, an undeclared freshman, has not had illness herself but has many friends who have.
“Everyone around me is getting sick, so it makes me think everyone is getting [COVID-19],” Topolovec said. “It’s creating a lot of paranoia.”
To schedule a COVID-19 test, vaccinated and asymptomatic students can visit this link.