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Is the university a Covid-19 superspreader? According to the CDC, cases increased by 56% in counties where classes were held directly.


Reopening the university campus during the Covid-19 pandemic remains a topic of ongoing debate. According to researchers, college campuses are at risk of becoming Covid-19 Superspreaders throughout the county. According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incidence of Covid-19 has increased significantly in US counties, where large universities began face-to-face lessons in the fall.

A county with a large university or a university with distance learning (22) well experienced The incidence has decreased by 17.9%. However, in the university county (79), which receives direct guidance, the incidence increased by 56.2% (15.3 to 23.9 per 100,000) compared to the 21 days before and after the start of class. In counties without large universities (3,009), the incidence decreased by 5.9% during a similar period.

Researchers say mitigation strategies may be particularly important for universities in the region where transmission from students to the wider community can exacerbate existing disparities, including access to and access to health care. I’m giving advice. “University face-to-face instruction was associated with increased county-level Covid-19 incidence and test positive rates. Covid-19 infection on campus by strengthening mitigation efforts at the university. Can be minimized, “the author recommends.

Covid-19 incidence reduced by 17.9% in remote instruction university counties
(Getty Images)

In some university counties, there may be one or more concerns, such as a high level of the elderly population, a high incidence of obesity and cardiovascular disease, and lack of medical resources. “These counties may need to consider the impact of face-to-face instruction on the Covid-19 epidemic among student populations who may interact with higher-risk people in the community. University management. People need to work with local decision makers and public health authorities to strengthen community mitigation, ”experts suggest.

The team also included US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) experts who surveyed the fall class schedule posted on the websites of large US universities. They investigated which institutions held remote or face-to-face classes in early September 2020. The report also analyzed counties other than universities. The proportion of counties identified at least once as hotspots increased in all three groups, with the highest proportion (30.4% absolute increase) observed in face-to-face college counties, followed by distance learning college counties (9.1%). And non-university counties (1.5%).

Campus outbreaks can spread to nearby communities

Many institutions, which reopened cautiously in the fall, experienced a wave of massive infections, and the university was soon declared a new hotspot for pandemics. Another study shows the exact impact of college outbreaks on neighborhoods. The first two weeks of instruction are periods of high risk of on-campus outbreaks, warning that these outbreaks tend to spread to nearby communities.

The first two weeks of instruction indicate a period of high risk of outbreaks on campus (Getty Images).

Looking at the 30 campuses nationwide with the highest number of cases reported, experts said spikes occurred on 14 campuses during the first two weeks of the class (peak). The team explains that this is an order of magnitude higher than the national peaks of 70 and 150 between the first and second waves of the pandemic.

Most universities were able to quickly reduce the number of new infections, but many had no control over the spread of the virus across campuses. At some universities, one in five students had been infected with the virus by the end of the fall semester. There were more than 5,000 cases at four institutions. Survey results Published in Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering.

Within just two weeks, on 17 monitored campuses, a new computer model developed by Stanford University scientists shows that the outbreak was directly transformed into a peak of infection in the country. “Surprisingly, campus outbreaks in these areas spread rapidly throughout the county, causing new peaks of infection in neighboring communities. Our results show that universities are new to Covid-19 infection. It confirms the widespread fear of early fall that it could become a hotspot, “said senior author Ellencourt.

Coronavirus Cases on 30 University Campuses in the United States (Data Driven Modeling Studies-Lu et al, Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering)

Hannah Lu, lead author of Stanford University’s Energy Resources Engineering program, said policy makers have set an incidence of 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people per week as a high-risk county, state, or country threshold. It explains that it is often used. “In our survey, all 30 institutions exceeded this value, and three were even double digits in size. The number of students infected throughout the fall has been 5.3% since the outbreak began. It’s more than double the national average, with a population of 328.2 million and 17.3 million reported, “she said.

All reported campuses conducted regular monitoring tests, weekly or twice weekly, in combination with an aggressive testing-trace-separation strategy. According to researchers, close scrutiny is important, especially during the first two weeks of class, as nearly half of institutions experienced a massive surge in new cases.

Campus pursued regular surveillance tests (Getty Images)

“Interestingly, the vast majority of universities were able to control outbreaks quickly and control campus-wide infections, but neighboring communities were less successful in controlling the spread of the virus. As a result, at most facilities, outbreak dynamics were manageable throughout the fall of 2020, with less than 300 narrow spikes per day, “said the study.

The research team believes that this methodology, combined with continuous online learning, is the best way to prevent university sites from becoming a major hub for illness. They say that strict outbreak management, such as an immediate transition from face-to-face learning to all online learning, can reduce peaks within about two weeks.

“In summary, our study suggests that universities can be safely reopened while curbing the Covid-19 epidemic. Strict test trace quarantine strategies, flexibility for online instruction. We anticipate that compliance with local regulations will be important for a successful transition and, most importantly, for a safe campus to reopen after winter vacation, “concludes experts.

Click on the Newsbreak tracker for more information and statistics on the coronavirus pandemic. here


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