The University of Texas at Austin says 28 students have tested positive for the coronavirus—and most of them were on the same plane for a spring break trip. The Austin Public Health Department says the students were part of a group of around 70 people in their 20s who took a chartered flight to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico around 10 days ago, People reports. Some members of the group returned to Texas on scheduled flights, and authorities have been using flight manifests to contact other passengers, reports the Daily Texan. Authorities say the 28 infected students are self-isolating. Mexico was not under a travel advisory at the time of the trip, and students say the company that organized the trip told them that it was safe—and that there would be no refunds for anybody who decided to cancel.
"We’re currently in our 2nd week of Cabo and have had almost 5000 travelers, all with no issues," JusCollege, which specializes in organizing trips for college students, said in a March 12 email to a student obtained by the Austin American-Statesman. "Flights have been fully operational and we have had nearly 100% turn out. Our events are completely operational with zero impact from COVID-19 thus far." Students say the trip cost around $2,000. Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said almost half of the coronavirus cases in the county are in people between 20 and 40. "The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized or dying," he said. "While younger people have less risk for complications, they are not immune from severe illness and death from COVID-19.” (Read more coronavirus stories.)