Jul 13, 2020 - Health

College fraternity houses could become coronavirus hotbeds

Fraternity houses at the College of Charleston. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Fraternity houses have never been known for their cleanliness, but they're now emerging as hotbeds for coronavirus outbreaks, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This is yet another problem for college and university officials to solve as they try to bring students back for the fall semester.

Between the lines: Frat houses are used for both hosting parties and housing students, meaning the virus could spread the same way it would in a bar or as it would through any other type of communal housing.

Driving the news: The University of California at Berkeley told students last week that the number of coronavirus cases on campus had more than doubled in just a week. The majority of cases trace back to fraternity or sorority social gatherings.

  • Outbreaks at the University of Washington and the University of Mississippi have also been traced to fraternity housing or activities.

The bottom line: "If they are crowded indoors, and they're in close quarters for a long period of time, it's just a recipe for getting infected," Thomas Russo, an infectious disease professor at the University at Buffalo, told WashPost.

  • "And the setting almost guarantees if multiple individuals get infected, you suddenly have scenarios where they can spread it to 10, 20, 30 or 40 other individuals."

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