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

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Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the "Proud Boys" are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded: "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."