Now that stream feels like a flood. In just the past week, a New York Times survey has found, American colleges and universities have recorded more than 36,000 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total of campus infections to 88,000 since the pandemic began.
Not all of those cases are new, and the increase is partly the result of more schools beginning to report the results of increased coronavirus testing. But The Times survey of 1,600 institutions also shows how widely the contagion has spread, with schools of every type and size, and in every state, reporting infections.
Public health experts say the rising number also underscores an emerging reality of the pandemic: Colleges and universities have, as a category, become hot spots for virus transmission, much as hospitals, nursing homes and meatpacking plants were earlier in the year.