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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 17, Operational Update

April 17, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


Andy (00:00):
Good morning everybody. Friday, April the 17th. This is our daily operation status report. I'd like to start by a shout-out to our very own Dan Maxey, our chief of staff. Everyone can wish him a happy birthday. Happy 40th, Dan.

Speaker 2 (00:16):
Hey, congratulations. Happy birthday to you. 

Dan Maxey (00:17):
And drive by and honk if you have a chance.

Andy (00:26):
Absolutely. I was actually told by Allie that she was just going to sit out in front of your house all morning and honk at you, so we'll see if that's actually the case. But happy birthday, Dan.

Dan Maxey (00:37):
Thank you.

Speaker 2 (00:38):

Andy (00:42):
So today we're glad to also to be joined by a special guest, Dr. Mike Kimball. Mike is a professor in anthropology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He also serves as director of UNC's Center for Applied Contemplative Studies. He has a BA in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic in Maine and a master's and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. His research focuses on contemplative and engaged anthropology. Mike is a certified mindfulness teacher, and his presentation today is titled "How to Ground Yourself in an Earthquake." Mike, thank you so much for joining us this morning, and I'll turn it over to you.

Mike Kimball (01:25):
Absolutely. Thank you for inviting me. I really appreciate it. And I thought of this a metaphor in part, Andy, because you came to us from California, so you probably know all about earthquakes.

Andy (01:40):
Well also, I do spend some time studying mindfulness. I use 10% Happier and-

Mike Kimball (01:45):

Andy (01:46):
-try to meditate a little bit every day if I can.

Mike Kimball (01:50):
That's fantastic. Wow, that's great. Yeah, I absolutely love Dan Harris and what he's done for mindfulness in this country. There's a lot of folks who were unaware of it until he came along and wrote his book and then created his podcast and his app and all that kind of stuff. So kudos to Dan.

Andy (02:10):
Yeah, I like his skeptical perspective on the whole thing and how he kind of disarms people with that conversation.

Mike Kimball (02:16):
That's right. Exactly. And he put together a poster that kind of speaks to that. It's a big poster on why should we practice mindfulness, what does it do for us? What about the people who think it's hokum, all that stuff. And it's a big poster hanging on my door of my office for all to see. So yeah, I'm a big fan.

Mike Kimball (02:39):
So I don't know how familiar folks are with mindfulness. Clearly Andy is, and I know Katrina is, and there may be everyone in the room who is, but just in case you're not, I always like to refer to John Kabat-Zinn's definition of mindfulness. He's a medical researcher from the University of Massachusetts who created this program called mindfulness-based stress reduction, MBSR. And he did that in the 70s, and it's been going gangbusters now in the midst of the spread of mindfulness into research, neuroscience, all this kind of stuff.

Mike Kimball (03:14):
And his definition is pretty simple, but it's also pretty powerful. And it's this. Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way. So it's three things: on purpose, non-judgmentally, and in the present moment. So those are the three sort of magical ingredients really of mindfulness practice. Some people say mindfulness practices is very simple, but it's not easy. And so Andy, you're probably familiar with this and trying out mindfulness and trying to keep a practice going. Your mind is always jumping in there with different things for you to be doing and not sitting still paying attention just to the present moment. So those three ingredients are really key. Nonjudgmental means not criticizing what's coming up in the moment as you're just experiencing the present moment. Just noticing it, letting it go on its own, letting it linger if it's going to linger. And not feeding it, just letting it be what it is.

Mike Kimball (04:15):
And that means emotions. That means bodily feelings, that means thoughts, certainly thoughts that come up, images, memories, plans, all that kind of stuff. And this gets to one of the sort of key features of our brains, which are incredibly useful. And that is that we have the ability to explore the past with our imaginations and to explore a future or many futures with our imaginations. And this is why we can solve problems. This is why we can prepare for, we hope, and manage crises because our brains have this incredible ability to draw learning from the past and to imagine a future, you know? But the downside of that, of course, is that when we get stuck in loops of living in the past or living in the future, we can't get out. We get trapped.

Mike Kimball (05:07):
And so there's a lot of research that shows when you get trapped in those loops of dwelling on the past or needing the future to be a certain way, what arises from that is frustration, anger, anxiety, even despair because we can't control the future. It hasn't even happened yet. So mindfulness practice is sort of a refuge that we can create for ourselves in the midst of this kind of a world, in the midst of the uncertainty that the world hands us all the time. So it's a kind of refuge in the sense that when you practice it, what you're doing is reminding yourself that actually the future hasn't happened yet and the past is over. You're reminding yourself, and we have to do this because our minds are so good at going into the past and dwelling on the future, on a future that hasn't happened yet. So we just remind ourselves through a mindfulness practice that actually all we have right now, all we will ever have, is the present moment.

Mike Kimball (06:06):
And so we get in touch with that present moment. Some people call it like dropping into the present moment. And in that remembering comes a sort of peace of mind that arises, that even in the midst of chaos, what we have right now is what we have, and we can't control the future. We can work towards a better future, we can collaborate with each other on things of that nature, but we can't make it happen, and it hasn't happened yet. So really all we have is the present moment. It kind of grounds us to do a mindfulness practice. It doesn't tell us that we shouldn't be thinking about the past or we shouldn't be planning. All it tells us is that we should wake up into the present moment so that we don't get caught up in these traps of being stuck in the past or an unhappening future.

Mike Kimball (06:57):
So I wanted to tie this into a personal example for me. Several years ago, I was with my family in California, and we were visiting a museum. It's California, right? Which is the home to so many theme parks. So there I was in this museum, and all of a sudden the floors started to move and things on the walls started to swing. And my first thought was, oh wow, this is an amazing museum. They actually have automated it so that the floor really catches the visitor's attention. But of course, it wasn't that at all. It was an earthquake. It was a minor earthquake, tremors. But the whole building was moving. And so, we didn't have any preparation. Some people knew what to do, other people didn't. And what I noticed in the midst of all that was that the tourists, the people who looked like tourists, were panicking.

Mike Kimball (07:47):
You know, there was some screaming, there was some shouting, there was some running. But people who looked like they were locals to me just took it in stride. They were like, yep, here we go again, another tremor. And to me that is a great lesson. There's a teaching in that. So one of the things that makes earthquakes terrifying is because it's not just the imminent threat of something falling on your head, but also because of the ground, the ground that we're so used to trusting as being solid and supportive is suddenly moving under our feet. It's shifting under our feet. So it's terrifying to see that the thing that you depended on the most for your security is now moving. It's changing. So we don't know where to turn to find the stability. So people are familiar with earthquakes, know that there's a truth about the earth, that the earth actually is always moving.

Mike Kimball (08:49):
People who live in the midst of earthquakes are responsive to the movement of earth because they know that that's the nature of earth, to always be changing. But those of us who don't come from earthquake zones have this myth in our minds that the earth is solid, that it doesn't move. And so this is the teaching really of the earthquake. It's teaching us that everything is always moving, everything is always changing. And so there are techniques that people learn to survive an earthquake. And there's a simple diagram, and I won't take the time to try to share my screen because I'm sure I'll have technical difficulties. So it's just three steps, right? One of them is drop, one of them has cover, and one of them is hold on, and it's very straight forward, and it's kept simple, right?

Mike Kimball (09:37):
So that you can actually put it into practice and not have to think too much about it. That's how you survive an earthquake. You drop to the ground, you find cover, and you hold on. So I think that's a great metaphor. You know, we're all in the midst of our own earthquake right now. Both the pandemic with the deficit, with declining enrollments, all those kinds of things. It's creating an earthquake for us. And I think the teaching of the earthquake is something to keep in mind and also the ways of surviving an earthquake. Those three steps are something to keep in mind. And for me, it translates directly into mindfulness practice. So if you think about it this way, let's return really quickly to Kabat-Zinn's definition of mindfulness, right? A particular way of paying attention on purpose, non-judgmentally, and in the present moment.

Mike Kimball (10:30):
So let's return to the three steps for surviving an earthquake. Drop. The first step is drop. And for mindfulness, that means dropping into your experience of the present moment. Feeling it, whatever the feeling is. If it's pain, if it's bodily sensations, if it's mental formations, ideas, memories, whatever it is, just noticing it non-judgmentally. So dropping into our present-moment experience. And then the next step is cover. And cover means taking refuge, right? And mindfulness offers us a practice that allows us to take refuge, not by resisting the fact that things change, but instead embracing, accepting the fact that everything changes. So that in itself becomes a refuge, is understanding the nature of change and accepting that change happens, that the ground shifts beneath our feet because that's the nature of the ground. That's the teaching of the earth.

Mike Kimball (11:34):
And the third step is, hold on. And in this I mean returning to the sense of being here right now and being alive in this moment. Regardless of whether how stressful the moment is or how distracting the moment is, we are alive within it. And so there's a few ways that people do that. And in mindfulness practice, one is just to put your hand on your heart. Your hand is your way of connecting with the world, right? So if you're just putting your hand on your heart, you can feel it beating. And this is a way of reminding ourselves, wait now, even though I'm stuck in a loop about the future, or I'm dwelling on the past, actually I'm right here, right now actually alive, which is a miracle. So here I have my hand on my heart and I'm feeling my hand on my chest and I'm feeling the beating of my heart, and I'm remembering, I'm remembering that I'm alive. Because we can so quickly forget.

Mike Kimball (12:34):
Or you can use something like a stone. A stone I think is useful because if you have a stone in your hand, you can feel that solidity, and you can marvel at the age of something that you're holding in your hand. It seems almost ageless. So it grounds us again in this acceptance, this connection with the rest of the world right here, right now in this moment. So those three steps, drop, cover and hold on, from a mindfulness perspective, could be some of the most useful steps we have in the midst of an earthquake that we're all experiencing right now. Just returning, just remembering, just getting back in touch with the fact that we're alive in this moment and connected. So that's all I've got for you this morning. I know you only had six to eight minutes. I hope I haven't used up too much. I haven't been paying attention. I haven't been mindful of the time, so I hope that's worked out okay for you.

Andy (13:33):
Thanks Mike. I remember many years ago reading Eckhart Tolle's book on The Power of Now, when you talk about being in the present moment, and that really helped me understand the importance of the present.

Mike Kimball (13:45):
Yeah, absolutely. And if anyone there likes the idea of the earthquake metaphor or wants to be reminded what mindfulness is about, I actually wrote that up so I can share it with you. You can just pass it around for anybody who might be interested in taking a look at it again.

Andy (14:02):
That would be great. Have a wonderful day. Thanks for being here.

Mike Kimball (14:06):
Absolutely. Good luck to you all. Bye.

Andy (14:10):
Bye. So now I'm going to turn the conversation over to Dan Maxey, our birthday honoree today, who's going to moderate conversations from the corona task force leaders. So Dan, take it away.

Dan Maxey (14:26):
Thank you, President Feinstein. Thank you, Mike. We appreciate Mike joining us this morning to share some tips and advice about how to be mindful. And yes, Chuck, my cat is here in my lap. He's being a little needy and mindful this morning, too. And there are people honking outside actively. So I apologize for any background noise on the call this morning. The cabinet coronavirus task force and subcommittees will all meet today as our panel gives daily reports. Please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. I'll turn things over first to the chair of our coronavirus task force, associate vice president for administration, Blaine Nickeson.

Blaine Nickeson (15:08):
Good morning. I forgot that it was hat day so I had to squirrel over there and grab it.

Andy (15:13):
I just remembered too myself, so I've got my hat on now.

Blaine Nickeson (15:17):
Yeah, we're all good now. So the White House released federal guidelines yesterday on what a return to normal would look like. It largely puts the onus upon states and governors, and it's pretty consistent with the state guidance that I shared yesterday about phases of release from lockdown. Key to it, to any of these plans, is the need for widespread testing and more PPE, particularly for frontline staff. Colorado has been doing 1200 to 1500 tests per day for the entire state. That's definitely not the level that we need to enter into the next phase. So I'm really watching with a lot of interest the great work that's happening in universities, hospitals, labs about trying to scale up testing, for instant testing or rapid testing, using things like saliva, and we'll continue to watch that in the coming days and weeks.

Blaine Nickeson (16:14):
On a positive note, the Air Force Thunderbirds flying display is going to fly over the front range, including Greeley, Windsor, Fort Collins and Longmont tomorrow starting at about 12:50. Their tour should last about an hour, and they're doing it as a way to honor frontline responders. It's a follow on from their flyover for the Air Force Academy commencement, so definitely check that out. It looks like the weather should be friendly for tomorrow. As a reminder that COVID-19 can and does affect the young and the healthy. Broncos star Von Miller has announced that he has COVID-19. I can't think of somebody that's a better example of what we would consider to be invincible than the Superbowl 50 MVP.

Blaine Nickeson (17:02):
For statewide data, there's 8,675 confirmed positive cases. That's up about 400 cases or 5% day over day. Just shy of 1700 had been hospitalized, up a little more than 3% since yesterday. 41,830 tested. That's up 3%. Colorado is reporting 374 deaths, which is up 17, or 5%, since yesterday, but that's after it grew by 9 and 7% the prior two days, so I'm glad to see that down a little bit. The states changed the methodology a bit with what they call contained facilities. In the past, this was where I was reporting on nursing homes and medical rehab facilities. Now it includes factories and jails, so there's 93 outbreaks at those type of facilities. That report is up 10 from yesterday. Weld County is reporting just shy of a thousand cases, 971, and that's up only about 2.4% day over day. There's 60 deaths in the county, up three. That growth percentage for cases is the slowest we've seen in over a week, so we'll keep an eye on it to see if that's an aberration or a trend. Weld County has triple the rate per capita as Boulder County and five times as much as Larimer County. So we continue to be a hotspot. That's all I have for this morning. Happy birthday, Dan. Turning it back over to you.

Dan Maxey (18:27):
You know, Blaine, I think that the Thunderbirds could probably see these signs from up there, and I hope they pass by too. Appreciate the updates. Next, I'll turn it over to Dean of Students, Tuck Tucker, for our report on impacts of student life. Tuck.

Gardiner Tucker (18:42):
Can you all see me or just my background?

Katrina Rodriguez (18:48):
We can't quite see yet. Well, there you go.

Gardiner Tucker (18:50):
Am I here?

Katrina Rodriguez (18:52):
Your background is.

Gardiner Tucker (18:53):
Nice hat.

Blaine Nickeson (18:54):
All we see is the bear logo.

Gardiner Tucker (18:57):
Okay, let me-

Katrina Rodriguez (18:58):
Hi, from the beach.

Andy (19:03):
Well I'm jealous, Katrina. You look like you're enjoying the sunshine right now.

Katrina Rodriguez (19:07):
What is it? Mindfulness. I'm creating in my mind where I want to be.

Gardiner Tucker (19:14):
We're all celebrating hat day, UNC hat day I should say.

Gardiner Tucker (19:18):
Okay, so my first student impact is hat day. Thank you everyone for wearing your hat. I'm sure that's going to impact all our students very quickly. The second thing I'd like to share is a reminder that this month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And on their website here, and I'll post it in the chat, has all the events for this month, the Clothesline Project, Carry That Weight, UNConditional Support Campaign, Denim Day, Why I Didn't Report campaign, and Why I Didn't Leave campaign. And all of these are ways to get involved this month in supporting survivors and let me put that in the... Hold on, put that in the chat there.

Gardiner Tucker (20:14):
It's important to show support, and it's a campus-wide activity and a nationwide activity as well. So thank you to ASAP, Assault Survivors Awareness Program, for putting those on this month, very meaningful. The final thing I'd like to go over is our UNC United to Nurture Together Program, where they're the ones that when you submit a card request, they send out cards to people. They've sent out 570 cards so far, about two thirds have gone to first responders, nursing and assisted living facilities. One third have gone to other students who are living on campus and in the area. So thank you to the Student Life team for putting that together and for everyone for submitting your card requests. So that's really having an impact too. And that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (21:08):
Thank you, Tuck, appreciate all of that. Next, I'll turn it over to Provost Mark Anderson to give his report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark.

Provost Mark Anderson (21:17):
Thank you, Dan. And happy birthday. It turns out that I was only a couple of months older than you. Anyway, that's my joke for today. I would like to first of all acknowledge Lori Riley in the Honors Program — sorry, Loree Crow in the Honors Program. We had one of the many activities that had to be moved online was Research Day, and they had held Research Day in a virtual environment earlier this week. I'm going to share my screen here. So they have a website hosting all the poster presentations for Research Day this year, and I'll just call up one or two just to show you some of the really excellent work that our graduate students and undergraduate students were presenting earlier in this environment. So here is one about trends in performance enhancing drugs and how it starts early in a young person's athletic activities. So just really wanting to encourage everybody to go to the website. I'll post it in the chat, to look at the really excellent work that our students are participating in. And we continue to monitor enrollment for the summer as well as the fall. And so again, I would like to encourage everybody, I'll put the link to the Research Day website into the chat so people can go and have a look. Once again, recognize Dan, and happy birthday. And that's all I have this morning.

Dan Maxey (23:14):
Great. Thank you Mark. We have no reports from Facilities and Human Resources this morning, so I will turn it back over to Andy. Andy.

Gardiner Tucker (23:20):
You shouldn't we try a Teams birthday song? All of us singing.

Andy (23:25):
I can't sing. So if you want to lead us off, Tuck, you're more than welcome to.

Gardiner Tucker (23:29):
Okay. You ready everyone? Unmute. Happy birthday to you. C'mon everyone.

Gardiner Tucker (23:36):

Katrina Rodriguez (23:46):
Happy Birthday.

Andy (23:54):
Well, that was messy. [crosstalk 00:24:02].

Tobias Guzmán (23:57):
I'm not singing, but happy birthday.

Andy (24:05):
Thank you all so much everybody. Thanks for our presenters. Thanks for the birthday wishes to Dan. I hope you have a great weekend, and we'll certainly see you here on Monday. Remember, there's no operation status report updates over the weekend, but with that, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here on Monday morning at 9:00 AM. Take care everybody.