Liberty University responds to NYT coronavirus claims

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)-- UPDATE: A correction from Liberty University spokesman Scott Lamb states one online student, who does not live on campus and who never left Lynchburg, has tested positive for coronavirus from local community contacts.

The previous report made by Lamb to WDBJ7 in error stated that one on-campus student, who never left Lynchburg, tested positive from contact within the community.

ORIGINAL: Liberty University released a full statement Sunday combatting a New York Times article's claims about students showing signs of the coronavirus after they say President Jerry Falwell, Jr. irresponsibly welcomed students back to the campus.

The article reads, in part, that "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. Another eight were told to self-isolate," and that Falwell "reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm."

The New York Times points to Lynchburg's mayor, Treney Tweedy, calling Falwell "reckless."

After Governor Ralph Northam made a specific reference to Liberty and its president during a press briefing last week, Falwell responded that “our messages did change throughout the week as the governor’s orders changed,” going on to say “we had to adapt.”

According to the university's response, four students were told to self-isolate, even though there were no symptoms being shown, as a precaution as they returned to campus from New York.

One on-campus student, who never left Lynchburg, tested positive from contact within the community, according to the statement.

The university says no on-campus student has tested positive from any on-campus contact.

Read the full New York Times article here.

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