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A rat scavenges on the subway platform at Herald Square in New York City in 2017. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

The CDC issued a warning on rats after it received reports of "an increase in rodent activity" in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: "Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas," the CDC said a statement posted to its website.

"Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior."
— CDC statement

The big picture: New Orleans stepped up rat control after an uptick on city streets. In Chicago, "hundreds of thousands" of the nocturnal animals are searching much further for food and in daylight hours, the Chicago Tribune reports.

  • From March-April, Washington, D.C., reported almost 500 rodent-related call-outs and Baltimore had 11,000 "proactive" calls and 311 online requests per NBC News
  • Rat expert Bobby Corrigan told the New York Times the rodents are "turning on each other," rather than threatening people.
  • "They are going to war with each other, eating each other’s young in some populations and battling each other for the food they can find," Corrigan said, adding rats in residential blocks have barely been affected by the pandemic.

For the record: The CDC recommends monitoring, controlling and cleaning up after rats.

  • "Preventive actions include sealing up access into homes and businesses, removing debris and heavy vegetation, keeping garbage in tightly covered bins, and removing pet and bird food from their yards," the CDC said.

Go deeper: America's rat renaissance

Go deeper

12 mins ago - Sports

American Katie Ledecky wins Olympic gold in women's 800m freestyle

Photo: François-Xavier Marit/AFP via Getty Images

American superstar swimmer Katie Ledecky grabbed her second gold medal of this year's Olympic Games, winning the women's 800-meter freestyle race Saturday in Tokyo.

Driving the news: Ledecky, who holds the world record in the 800m freestyle, is considered one of the best women swimmers of all time. Earlier this week, she snagged gold in the first-ever women's 1500m freestyle and took home silver medals in the 400m freestyle and the 4x2100m freestyle relay.

23 mins ago - Sports

Simone Biles won't compete in individual vault or uneven bars Olympic finals

Photo: Fred Lee via Getty Images

Simone Biles will not compete in the individual vault or uneven bars finals at the Tokyo Olympics, USA Gymnastics announced Friday.

Why it matters: Biles drew global attention after stepping out of the individual all-around and team finals to prioritize her mental health. It's unclear if she will compete in the balance beam or floor exercise events.

25 mins ago - Sports

Caeleb Dressel breaks world record in men's 100m butterfly, wins 3rd gold in Tokyo

Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel broke the world record in the men's 100-meter butterfly final in Tokyo on Saturday, picking up his third gold medal of this year's Games.

The big picture: Dressel finished with a time of 49.45 seconds. Hungary's Kristóf Milák won the silver, and Switzerland's Noe Ponti took the bronze.