Check this page for the Daily Lobo's updated testing and confirmed case data for the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico, thanks to the COVID Tracking Project. This page will be updated daily as more data is produced and reported.

University of New Mexico graduate students Mostafa Peysokhan and Maryam Bahmani created a simple ventilator design in mid-April with hopes of helping hospitals low on ventilators.

The homemade ventilator “CorVent” was designed to be cheap and easy to create, with little tools necessary.

“We decided to design a very simple and inexpensive ventilator that anyone in any part of the world can easily make,” Bahmani said.

The novel coronavirus hit the University of New Mexico’s budget hard.

Teresa Costantinidis, UNM vice president for finance and administration, told a Board of Regents Committee that COVID-19 has cost UNM $49.8 million in lost revenue. 

Administrators didn’t say what actions they might take to stem off repercussions of the revenue lost beyond lobbying the federal government for more relief. However, Provost James Holloway told the Daily Lobo that UNM is under a hiring freeze with an undetermined end date. 

“We do expect (for fiscal year 2020) additional allocations of approximately $10 million in total,” Costantinidis said. 

The touring cast of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” scheduled a visit to Popejoy from Jan. 19 to Feb. 7, 2021, however, with the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic it is unclear if people will be allowed to gather in large crowds come early next year.

“While it is far too soon to tell whether COVID-19 will affect the performances of Hamilton scheduled to begin in Popejoy Hall on January 19, we know we have a great partner in the production of Hamilton that will do all it can to reschedule those performances as quickly as possible, should our three-week run of the show be closed down due to the pandemic,” Popejoy Marketing Manager Terry Davis said, 

Broadway shows in New York City have been shuttered since March 12 and are set to remain closed through at least June 7, and it is likely that the shutdown will continue past that date. Touring shows have also been canceled across the country including Popejoy’s planned performances of “Escape to Margaritaville” and “The Play that Goes Wrong”.

Film students adapt to COVID restrictions

Seniors of the Film and Digital Media Arts Department (FDMA) have struggled to stay motivated while trying to find alternative ways to finish their capstone projects. With the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 and the rules that prohibit face-to-face interaction, students are finding it harder to cope in a world of uncertainty.

The University of New Mexico students enrolled in the FDMA program study under a four year cohort program that teaches them skills of filmmaking and prepares them to work within the film industry after graduation. The culmination of their hard work is presented in their senior capstones where they work in crews to create a film, video game or animation from beginning to end. 

COVID-19 disproportionately impacts marginalized populations

The coronavirus pandemic is not the great equalizer some in the limelight have touted it to be. 

Melanie Moses, UNM professor of computer science, has been studying the racial disparities of the coronavirus spreading within our state. Moses said there needs to be policies implemented to protect vulnerable groups as individuals plan to open economies, distribute personal protective equipment and develop vaccination plans.

“There are shocking disparities among African, Latinx and Native-American populations with mortality rates at rates at least two or three times higher than white populations,” Moses said.

At least 31% of New Mexicans who’ve contracted COVID-19 are Native American despite only making up about 11% of the population, according to an article New Mexico In Depth published based on publicly available data.

Local acequias lack proper maintenance during stay-at-home order

None of the Pajarito Meadows residents expected to go outside and find half the houses flooding one afternoon in early April. Some houses were drenched two to three feet deep in water from the nearby acequia. However, the reason why the acequias overflowed is a different story. 

Many acequias in New Mexico are open and running despite having to cancel their community spring cleaning day. As the stay-at-home order continues, cleaning the acequias has been put on hold for many New Mexico communities. 

Since acequias are not Albuquerque’s main source of farm water, keeping them clean has become a hassle in some areas.

UNM announces virtual commencement ceremony

In an email sent to those graduating in spring 2020 on April 27, the University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes officially announced a virtual celebration to honor graduates. 

The celebration will take place on Saturday, May 30 at 9 a.m, with more details expected to come later this week from the Office of the University Secretary. The email added that a virtual commencement does not replace an in-person one, so spring 2020 graduates will be invited to walk at a later commencement ceremony. 

“To say that a virtual celebration is an imperfect solution would be an enormous understatement—and believe me, I’m as upset as you are that we won’t be celebrating your new degree in person, in a crowded Dreamstyle Arena (Pit) filled with family and friends,” Stokes said in the email. “Commencement is a life experience, a genuine rite of passage—and as such, it truly cannot be experienced virtually.”

Politics, misinformation enter fray as 'anti-quarantine' protest and COVID cases continue

A small group of protesters demanding the reopening of New Mexico’s economy gathered at Civic Plaza Friday while the death toll from the coronavirus in New Mexico continues to mount.

The demonstration — organized locally on Facebook by longshot Republican congressional candidate Brett Kokinadis and a group called “NM Freedom Rally - Operation Gridlock NM” — mirrored other anti-quarantine protests held in Santa Fe and across the country in recent weeks calling for the softening of social distancing restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While the small nationwide protests continue to make headlines and grab attention online, their origins remain unclear. A Washington Post article found that three brothers from Ohio were responsible for some of the largest anti-quarantine Facebook groups in the country.

Agora Crisis Center faces high-volume chat services during pandemic

The University’s Agora Crisis Center has seen an increase in the use of their services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Agora — a UNM student organization — is a free, confidential all-issues support center accessible to anyone. 

“Our whole mission is really to just help our community,” Agora Associate Director Kyle Dougherty said. “Anybody can get in contact with us at any time.”

Agora reported they’ve had an increase in online chat services, while their phone services remain consistent with previous records.

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