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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

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 20, 2020 - Health

California issues more rigid COVID-19 guidelines for theme park re-openings

Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California health officials on Tuesday told theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood that they can reopen once daily coronavirus cases in their respective counties drop below one per 100,000 people.

Why it matters: Disney and Universal, both of which hoped to reopen when their counties reached "moderate" spread, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Deadline reported that Universal Studios Hollywood laid off over 2,200 employees since July and Disney laid off 28,000 employees in September.

Oct 20, 2020 - World

Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million coronavirus cases

High school students at an improvised classroom in the yard of their school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Oct. 13. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina's health ministry reported 12,982 new coronavirus cases Monday night, taking the country's total to 1,002,662.

Why it matters: Argentina is the fifth country to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, after Russia (over 1.4 million), Brazil (more than 5.2 million), India (7.5-plus) and the U.S. (over 8.2 million), per Johns Hopkins. "It means one in every 45 Argentinians have had the virus," the Guardian notes. The country reported Monday that the virus had killed another 451 people, taking the death toll to over 26,000.

Editor's note: The headline of this story has been corrected to show Argentina passed 1 million cases not 5 million.

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