Education

More Than 20,000 Coronavirus Cases Have Been Counted At Colleges Since Late July: Report

REUTERS/Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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Colleges across the United States have reported more than 20,000 coronavirus cases since late July, according to The New York Times.

At least 26,000 cases and 64 deaths have been reported from more than 1,500 colleges since the pandemic started, according to the Times survey of reported cases at U.S. universities. (Related: University Of North Carolina Cancels In-Person Classes 1 Week Into Semester) 

The University of Alabama at Birmingham had the highest number of reported cases at 972 total, according to The Times, but the school claims this number is misleading because it includes reported cases from the medical school and university hospital.

The university said in a statement Wednesday that the data could be misleading because it combines cases among non-clinical students and staff with cases at the medical school and hospital, which has treated 1,100 coronavirus cases in 2020.

At Birmingham’s clinical enterprise, 733 faculty and staff have tested positive for the virus and 148 students and 91 faculty and staff at the rest of the university have tested positive since the pandemic began, according to the statement.

Including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Times said the data from 16 schools included cases among “students or employees who work in health care and are at greater risk of exposure.”

Colleges and universities across the U.S. are taking extra precautions in order to prevent the virus from spreading. At the Ohio State University, 228 students were temporarily suspended for breaching social-distancing COVID-19 protocols, according to news outlet Cleveland.com.

Of the universities that responded to the Times, 150 reported no cases and at least 600 did not respond or declined to respond to the survey, the Times reported. The Times found data for several colleges online.

Since the size and transparency varies between colleges, campuses should not be compared, according to the Times.

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