MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, January 8, 2020


Predicted Heart Age Among U.S. Cancer Survivors — United States, 2013-2017

CDC Media Relations

Cancer survivors are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease given greater excess heart age, compared to non-cancer survivors. Among cancer survivors the risk of cardiovascular disease varied by age, race/ethnicity, education, and income. Physicians use heart age to communicate cardiovascular disease risk. This study looks at predicted heart age, excess heart age (difference between predicted heart age and actual age), and racial/ethnic and sociodemographic differences in heart age among U.S adult cancer survivors and non-cancer participants aged 30-74 years. Among cancer survivors, groups with the greatest average excess heart age were those ages 60-74 years, non-Hispanic Blacks, those with less than a high school education, and those with less than $35,000 annual household income. Certain cancer therapies may further increase the risk of cardiovascular events among cancer survivors. Healthcare providers can counsel cancer survivors regarding risk factors that may contribute to excess heart age, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor diet.

Time from Start of Quarantine to SARS-CoV-2 Positive Test Among Quarantined College and University Athletes — 17 States, June–October 2020

CDC Media Relations

Between June-October 2020, some collegiate athletes in the United States were quarantined following exposure to COVID-19 and tested periodically during quarantine. The probability of testing positive among quarantined athletes who had no previous positive test decreased from 27% after day 5 to 14.2% after day 7 and less than 5% after day 10. These findings support providing options to health departments to potentially shorten quarantine, especially if doing so will increase compliance. Quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 is a key intervention to slow the spread. CDC currently recommends a 14-day quarantine. However, based on local circumstances and resources, different options are provided to health departments to potentially shorten quarantine. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread as collegiate sports resumed, regional athletic conferences created testing and quarantine policies based on guidance from the CDC and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). To help assess the amount of time between starting quarantine and the first positive test result after exposure, investigators analyzed data from 24 colleges and universities that contributed data on quarantined athletes. They discovered that once an athlete entered quarantine, the probability of testing positive among those who had no previous positive test decreased from 26.9% after day 5 to 14.2% after day 7 and 4.7% after day 10. Given the low proportion of athletes who tested positive after day 10, the risk of transmission after 10 days of quarantine was low among young, healthy athletes. These findings support new guidance from CDC in which different options are provided to shorten quarantine for people such as collegiate athletes, especially if doing so will increase compliance, balancing the reduced duration of quarantine against a small but nonzero risk for spread after the quarantine period. People released from quarantine before 14 days should continue daily symptom monitoring, avoid close contact, and wear masks when around others.

Assessment of Day-7 Postexposure Testing of Asymptomatic Contacts of COVID-19 Patients to Evaluate Early Release from Quarantine — Vermont, May–November 2020

Ben Truman, Public Health Communication Officer
Vermont Department of Health
Office Phone: 802-316-2117
Cell Phone: 802-316-2117
Email Address:

Since May, Vermont’s quarantine policy has allowed people to end quarantine early after a negative COVID-19 viral test on or after day 7 and if asymptomatic. This policy has had a minimal impact on further spread of the virus. These data support recommendations to shorten quarantine such as those provided in CDC’s updated quarantine guidance. An analysis of Vermont testing data found that only 3% of people identified as close contacts tested for COVID-19 on Day 7 of quarantine tested positive, and 4% of close contacts tested on day 8, 9, or 10 were positive. This suggests a low risk for spread of COVID-19 among those who end quarantine after Day 7 with a negative test and no symptoms. While Vermont’s quarantine policy helps people by shortening their quarantine period, it also may benefit the overall COVID-19 response by identifying asymptomatic people earlier in the course of their illness through the increased availability of testing statewide.

Opening of Large Institutions of Higher Education and County-Level COVID-19 Incidence — United States, July 6–September 17, 2020

CDC Media Relations

U.S. counties with large colleges or universities experienced a 56% increase in COVID-19 cases after in-person classes began. Colleges and universities with in-person classes should consider increased mitigation efforts, including requiring masks, enforcing social distancing, limiting gatherings, and conducting active case-finding and contact tracing. COVID-19 cases decreased in many counties across the United States in late summer 2020. In early September, U.S. counties with large colleges or universities experienced a 56% increase in COVID-19 cases after those institutions started in-person classes. Counties with universities with remote instruction experienced an 18% decline in COVID-19 rates during the 21 days before through 21 days after the start of classes. Counties without a large college or university had a 6% decrease in cases and only a 1.5% increase in hotspot county designation during similar timeframes. Increases in infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 among younger age groups can result in increased community spread to older age groups who are more at risk for severe outcomes.

Participation in Fraternity and Sorority Activities and the Spread of COVID-19 Among Residential University Communities — Arkansas, August 21-September 5, 2020

Danyelle McNeill, MA, Public Information Officer
Arkansas Department of Health
Office Phone: 501-682-2540
Cell Phone: 501-353-6949
Email Address:

An investigation of COVID-19 cases at a university in Arkansas at the start of the 2020-21 academic year found that rapid spread was likely facilitated by on- and off-campus congregate living settings and activities, with a majority linked to fraternity and sorority or Greek Life activities. To slow the spread of COVID-19, colleges and universities should work with local health departments and student organizations to ensure compliance with prevention and control guidelines, such as requiring masks and avoiding gatherings. During August 22–September 5, 2020, a university in Arkansas reported an increase in COVID-19 cases. Sorority rush week was held August 17–22, and consisted of on- and off-campus social gatherings, including an outdoor bid-day event on August 22. Fraternity rush week occurred August 27–31, with bid day scheduled for September 5. On September 4, the university banned gatherings of 10 or more people, and fraternity bid day was held virtually. Investigators used network visualization techniques and tools to analyze where disease spread may have happened and found on- and off-campus congregate living settings and activities likely facilitated the rapid spread of cases. About one out of three patients reported involvement in any fraternity or sorority activity. Among 54 communities with spread of COVID-19 detected, 49 (91%) were linked by participation in fraternity and sorority activities. Women accounted for 86% of cases in linked gatherings, which could also reflect involvement in in-person activities during sorority rush week, and which happened before the banning of gatherings of 10 or more people. The report also found that most cases reported attending classes virtually (59%) and a very small percentage of cases occurred among faculty and staff, suggesting the rapid spread likely occurred outside of the classroom. These findings highlight the role that congregate living settings and extracurricular activities can play in the spread of COVID-19 at colleges and universities.

Recommendations and Reports

CDC now recommends an FDA-licensed Ebola vaccine for certain high-risk occupations in the U.S. including individuals responding to an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD); healthcare personnel at federally designated Ebola Treatment Centers in the United States; and laboratorians or other staff at U.S. biosafety-level 4 facilities. EVD is a severe and often deadly disease, causing major outbreaks in West Africa and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in recent years — with additional limited spread to countries outside Africa (including the United States) due to travel. In December 2019, the FDA licensed the rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine (ERVEBO®, Merck). On February 26, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the use of this vaccine among specific high-risk occupational groups 18 years and older in the United States. These recommendations are based on the severity of EVD and possibility for long-term complications among survivors, the potential for spread of EVD, and research showing the effectiveness of the vaccine in outbreak settings, as well as limited adverse events from vaccination.



CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

Page last reviewed: January 6, 2021