Feb 10, 2021 - Health

Colleges run into COVID-19 variants

Illustration of an old fashioned desk overflowing with coronavirus cells.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The highly contagious U.K. variant of COVID-19 has popped up on many college campuses, calling into question their plans to let more students back on campus this spring, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. variant is expected to become the dominant strain within the U.S. relatively soon, and colleges' experience with it could foreshadow what's next for society at large.

Students in colleges from all regions of the country — in Texas, Florida, Michigan, California and Louisiana — have come in contact with the B.1.1.7 variant, per the Times.

  • The University of Michigan identified a cluster positive tests for the variant in its athletic department, which contributed to more than 1,000 cases already this year.
  • Vanderbilt University said two students violated safety protocols, which snowballed into 100 students needing to quarantine. Tulane University also reprimanded student organizations for breaking social distancing rules.
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