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The Indiana University Health Center in Bloomington, Indiana, in June 2020. Photo: Marlena Sloss for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Indiana University urged fraternity and sorority houses at its Bloomington campus to close after three-quarters of Greek houses have been forced to quarantine with coronavirus cases on the rise.

Why it matters: At least five Greek houses are reporting positivity rates of more than 50%, while one house experienced an 87.4% positivity rate as of Aug. 31, according to the university's COVID-19 dashboard.

The big picture: IU's "alarming" positivity rate comes as colleges across the U.S. wrestle with how to manage infections.

What they're saying: "Positive cases of COVID-19 among IU Bloomington students in communal living, such as Greek houses, continue to rise at an alarming rate," the university said Thursday. "This is making it difficult to contain the spread of COVID-19 within these living environments and for houses to safely quarantine or isolate students."

  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that sending students home from universities amid campus outbreaks is "the worst thing you could do."
    • "Keep them at the university in a place that's sequestered enough from the other students, but don't have them go home, because they could be spreading it in their home state," Fauci said in an NBC interview on Wednesday.

Go deeper: Colleges drive a new wave of coronavirus hotspots

Go deeper

Americans used disaster housing more than 1 million times in 2020

A person and a pup evacuated from a wildfire near Vacaville, California, taking refuge at a Red Cross shelter in August 2020. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

People used emergency lodging across the U.S. more than 1 million times in 2020, over four times the annual average during the past decade, the American Red Cross said.

Why it matters: The figure is a testament to how the COVID-19 pandemic, active wildfires, a relentless hurricane season and other natural disasters wracked the country this year.

Dec 12, 2020 - Health

Study: Boston conference linked to spread of over 333,000 COVID-19 cases

Photo: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

The Biogen conference held in Boston in late February has been linked to more than 333,000 coronavirus cases, a new study in the journal Science says, calling the two-day function a "superspreader event."

Why it matters: The study estimates that the conference was behind 1.9% of all U.S. cases since the pandemic got underway, spreading to 29 states. It illustrates how a single-site event with attendees who traveled from afar can spur a national outbreak.

COVID-19 vaccine will arrive to states by Monday

General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for the Defense Department's Project Warp Speed. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use on Friday night, is expected to arrive throughout the U.S. by Monday to administer to health care workers, U.S. officials said Saturday.

Why it matters: The administration green-lighting shipments and distribution this weekend comes as the U.S. topped more than 3,000 deaths a day — more than 9/11 or D-Day.