CDC: Large universities holding in-person classes increase local COVID-19 cases

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U.S. counties with large universities or colleges holding in-person classes experienced a significant increase in COVID-19 cases compared to the 21-day period before classes started, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Jan. 8. 

Researchers identified all nonprofit universities or colleges with at least 20,000 students in fall 2020 and compared the mean COVID-19 incidence in the 21 days before and after classes started. Among 22 counties with large institutions that held only remote courses, there was a 17.9 percent decline in COVID-19 cases. The 79 counties with large institutions that held in-person classes saw a 56.2 percent increase. The percentage of positive test results and hot-spot status also increased in counties with universities or colleges that held in-person courses. 

Among 3,009 counties without large colleges or universities, researchers observed a 5.9 percent decline in COVID-19 incidence. 

"College and university administrators should work with local decision-makers and public health officials to strengthen community mitigation, in addition to continuing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 on college and university campuses," the report said. 

A similar CDC report associated university Greek life activities with an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

To view the full university county study, click here.

More articles on public health:
19 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Jan. 8
DC hospitals treat victims of Capitol riot: 5 things to know 
States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered





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