After the rising COVID-19 cases in the US, college campuses are under criticism for spreading the virus in local counties. A new study has revealed that public health in danger as the colleges are reopened in most areas of the country. within two weeks of opening the number of cases has drastically increased portraying the colleges as superspreaders for this virus.
This study by Stanford scientists has analyzed 30 different college campuses in the US with the highest number of new COVID-19 cases. The research team was astonished to see that nearly half of these campuses reported more than 1000 new COVID-19 cases as per 100,000 people weekly. Note that it has been only two weeks that the colleges are reopened and the classes are resumed.
Some of the colleges reported every one in five student COVID-19 positive and many of these campuses reported more than 5000 positive cases.
Using a computer model, the research team monitored 17 college campuses where the rise in COVID-19 cases was directly linked with the Covid-19 outbreak in the home counties of these students. This study is now published in the journal Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering.
Not only it has studied the increase in COVID-19 cases in US college campuses but also suggested that proper outbreak management can lower the risk of new cases.
Hannah Lu from the Energy Resources Engineering program at Stanford University says that the rise in weekly COVID-19 cases during this second wave was compared with the first wake. The results showed that college campuses play a highly risky role to increase the incidence of these viral cases.
She also says that the national policymakers refer to the 50 cases per 100,000 individuals weekly which is a threshold in any county/state. But all the college campuses which were included in this study reported much more than this number, showing he the real number of cases is much higher.
It also shows that the number of infected students during the fall semester is double the average number of cases that was reported during the first wave of coronavirus in the US. This average is reported to be 5.3% as per 17.3 million COVID-19 cases reported in the 328.2 million population.
For example, only at one campus of the University of Notre Dame, nearly all 12,607 students got their COVID-19 test before commencement of the classes and nine of them were positive. It has only been two weeks and the incidence after seven days was 3083, and the reproduction number (R0) was reported as 3.29.
But more than 90% of the reported deaths, all over the country are among employees and not college students. The death rate among college students is relatively low.
This study was performed using advanced level computer modeling to identify the real-time epidemiology of the deadly COVID-19 by the use of an SEIR model. This SEIR model represents susceptibility, exposure, infection, and recoveries to track the disease on any college campus.