Jerry Falwell Jr. decided to partially re-open Liberty University in defiance of recommendations and all common sense.

Now students and faculty have contracted the virus.

https://www.propublica.org/article/i...audit-the-poor

LYNCHBURG, Va. — As Liberty University’s spring break was drawing to a close this month, Jerry Falwell Jr., its president, spoke with the physician who runs Liberty’s student health service about the rampaging coronavirus.

“We’ve lost the ability to corral this thing,” Dr. Thomas W. Eppes Jr. said he told Mr. Falwell. But he did not urge him to close the school. “I just am not going to be so presumptuous as to say, ‘This is what you should do and this is what you shouldn’t do,’” Dr. Eppes said in an interview.

So Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm. As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggested Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. An additional eight were told to self-isolate.

As of 8 p.m. on March 29, of those three students tested, one was positive, one was negative and one student’s results are still pending, according to Dr. Eppes, who added that the student who tested positive for Covid-19 lives off campus.
Fallwell's narrative has been inconsistent throughout, and he's personally attacked students, faculty and parents who have disagreed with his decision.

The mayor and city manager here, Bonnie Svrcek, felt relieved two weeks ago, when Mr. Falwell assured them that he fully intended to comply with Virginia’s public health directives and close the school to virtually all students, most of whom were scattering for spring break. Then he changed his mind.

“We think it’s irresponsible for so many universities to just say ‘closed, you can’t come back,’ push the problem off on other communities and sit there in their ivory towers,” Mr. Falwell said on Wednesday on a radio show hosted by Todd Starnes, a far-right conspiracy theorist.

“We’re conservative, we’re Christian, and therefore we’re being attacked,” he said.

Michael Gillette, a former mayor of Lynchburg and a bioethicist now working with its hospitals on rationing scarce ventilators, disagrees.

“To argue that criticism of Liberty is based on political bias is unfounded and unreasonable,” he said. “Liberty just did not take this threat as seriously as others have.”

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, Lynchburg city officials and a growing number of Liberty students, parents and employees have urged Mr. Falwell to reverse course, but such pleas have only prompted a stream of often conflicting statements.

“Our messages did change throughout the week as the governor’s orders changed,” Mr. Falwell said. “We had to adapt.”

Mr. Falwell initially said only international students or those with nowhere else to go would remain. Then he welcomed back a much larger group of about 1,900 students to campus housing last week, in addition to faculty members and staff. Others returned to off-campus rentals in Lynchburg.

Students who remained at home had to return last week to clean out their rooms, a requirement that was later relaxed. Faculty members were at first ordered back to campus, even though they would be teaching online. Then some were allowed to work from home.

Mr. Falwell also waffled on whether the school would issue refunds to students who did not return for the semester, before announcing on Friday that most would receive a $1,000 credit for next year’s bills.

Mr. Falwell and his administration have worked to tamp down dissent. After a Liberty undergraduate, Calum Best, wrote on his personal Facebook page that students should receive refunds, he said Liberty’s spokesman, Scott Lamb, called his cellphone to berate him. Asked about the call, Mr. Lamb said he was simply objecting to an error in the post, and Mr. Best was “spinning.”

After Marybeth Davis Baggett, a professor, wrote an open letter asking the university’s board of trustees to close the campus, Mr. Falwell mocked her on Twitter as “the ‘Baggett’ lady.”

Jeff Brittain, a Liberty parent, wrote on Twitter: “I’m as right wing as they get, bud. But as a parent of three of your students, I think this is crazy, irresponsible and seems like a money grab.” Mr. Falwell replied, calling him a “dummy.”
I understand that the Right has become very anti science and places profits above people (a very Christian value, to be certain ), but do they really think they are immune to this virus? Do they honestly think they are immune from potential lawsuits?