June 03, 2020
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Fake letter claimed Bates College planned ‘mass forced contamination’ of coronavirus

Martin Meissner | AP
Martin Meissner | AP
A nurse demonstrates taking a sample for a coronavirus test Thursday at the infection station of the university hospital in Essen, Germany.

As of 12 p.m. Thursday, March 12, test results show that one Mainer has tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.

A fake letter circulated around the Bates College campus on Wednesday claimed the college planned a “mandatory” coronavirus contamination to combat the growing global pandemic.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that campus officials were quick to condemn the letter that was drafted to look like a message from the college’s president, Clayton Spencer. Students and staff were asked to dispose of the letter.

“We are all doing our best to grapple with a very challenging public health situation, this kind of action reflects seriously poor judgment and blatant disregard for the concerns and well-being of others,” the Sun Journal quoted college spokesman Sean Findlen as saying.

The letter claimed that students were to report to the campus’ dining hall, where they would receive an “active coronavirus injection,” the newspaper reports.

“The CDC has determined that the novel coronavirus is uncontainable, that the entire population will eventually become infected, and that this pandemic will eventually will only cease once this has happened; thus, instead of suspending classes, Bates College has officially decided to aid the CDC in the elimination of COVID-19 through mass forced contamination,” the fake letter reads.

[Do you have questions about the coronavirus? Ask us here.]

That comes as schools across the state moved to have students attend classes remotely and public events were canceled as a precaution against the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Among those schools planning to move students off campus include the University of Maine System’s seven campuses, Bowdoin College in Brunswick and Colby College in Waterville.

Bates College does not plan to cancel in-person classes because it has no breaks between now and the end of the winter semester, on April 18.

It has, however, scheduled teacher training for next week in preparation for continuing classes remotely should the need arise, according to the college’s website.

Additionally, Bates will no longer allow gatherings of more than 100 people on campus, and it will only allow those with valid Bates identification into campus buildings.

“While we have historically welcomed the public into our facilities, this is a temporary mitigation measure in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis,” the college said on its website.

Maine on Thursday became the last New England state to confirm a case of coronavirus. A woman in her 50s in Androscoggin County has been placed into quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus. Vermont reported its second confirmed case on Wednesday, while there have been at least 92 reported in Massachusetts, five in New Hampshire, three in Rhode Island and two in Connecticut.

Nationally, at least 938 people have been sickened by the coronavirus in 38 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The coronavirus has caused at least 29 deaths as of Wednesday.

Watch: What you need to know about handwashing during coronavirus

 


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