(CNN)Despite early outbreaks of Covid-19 on college campuses, mitigation strategies have helped fight the virus, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
CDC director says colleges 'stepped up' despite his concerns that students would make the pandemic difficult to contain
Dr. Robert Redfield said in a livestream Wednesday with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation that, despite his initial concerns that colleges would struggle to contain infections, schools have proved that thinking wrong.
By using strategies such as wearing masks, social distancing, good hygiene, weekly screening and contact tracing -- all strategies outlined early in the pandemic -- colleges have seen success.
"In the spring, we had significant outbreaks in some different college campuses, but what happened over the summer and the fall is many colleges and universities really stepped up to developing comprehensive mitigation steps that they really engaged the student body to actually buy into," Redfield said.
In August, colleges and universities across the US reported more the 8,700 cases in 36 states. Several outbreaks were reported due to private gatherings and parties among students.
Some institutions implemented screening procedures to identify asymptomatic carriers and isolated those individuals to prevent transmission, according to Redfield.
"It reaffirms to me that mitigation can work," Redfield said. "The idea that coupling mitigation with routine screening surveillance, to be able to identify the asymptomatic carriers these techniques do work."
Cases of Covid-19 have continued to rise across the country, as the number of patients in US hospitals reached an all-time high on Tuesday. As Americans gear up for more holiday travel, Redfield warned that December, January and February would be "rough times" for the country because of the stress on the health care system.