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."

Go deeper: Colleges gamble on reopening this fall

Go deeper

Aug 13, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak is slowing down after a summer of explosive growth.

By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.

Aug 12, 2020 - Health

Poll: America's confidence in public school system jumps amid pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's confidence in the public school system rose by 12 points this year to 41% — its highest point since 2004, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Why it matters: "Double-digit increases in confidence for any institution are exceedingly rare," Gallup notes. The jump comes as teachers, administrators and parents are still figuring out how to safely get kids back to school in the midst of a global pandemic, as the U.S. reports the most coronavirus infections and fatalities in the world.

Updated 12 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days of no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 751,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and another 20.7 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.