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Off-campus “super-spreader” event linked to 125 virus cases at Monmouth University

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An off-campus “super-spreader” event has led to 125 coronavirus cases at Monmouth University in New Jersey, the university’s president said in an open letter to students.

Through extensive contact tracing, the rise in cases was linked to a single event held about two weeks ago, Monmouth president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday. This event was held off-campus, although school officials did not specify what kind of event it was, only calling it a “social gathering.” 

Since August 24, Monmouth has reported over 319 coronavirus cases. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, only 96 of those cases are considered active, while the other 223 account for recovered cases. 

The school has not yet determined whether fully remote learning will continue for the rest of the fall semester. In his open letter, Leahy emphasized how important testing and social distancing was to the status of the fall semester. 

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community,” Leahy wrote on Friday. “The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.”

These new cases are a part of New Jersey’s increase in weekly positive cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, the state had at least 469 new cases reported in the last seven days, bringing Jersey’s total case count to 214,097. 

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“Super-spreader” event linked to 125 virus cases at university

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An off-campus “super-spreader” event has led to 125 coronavirus cases at Monmouth University in New Jersey, the university’s president said in an open letter to students.



a close up of a flower garden in front of a building: Monmouth University


© Seth Wenig / AP
Monmouth University

Through extensive contact tracing, the rise in cases was linked to a single event held about two weeks ago, Monmouth president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday. This event was held off-campus, although school officials did not specify what kind of event it was, only calling it a “social gathering.” 

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Since August 24, Monmouth has reported over 319 coronavirus cases. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, only 96 of those cases are considered active, while the other 223 account for recovered cases. 

The school has not yet determined whether fully remote learning will continue for the rest of the fall semester. In his open letter, Leahy emphasized how important testing and social distancing was to the status of the fall semester. 

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community,” Leahy wrote on Friday. “The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.”

New survey suggests lower COVID-19 risk for students, staff in classroom

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These new cases are a part of New Jersey’s increase in weekly positive cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, the state had at least 469 new cases reported in the last seven days, bringing Jersey’s total case count to 214,097. 

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Climate patterns linked in Amazon, North and South America, study shows

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amazon rainforest
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

University of Arkansas researchers have established a link between climate patterns in the Amazon and large parts of North and South America using their newly developed tree-ring chronology from the Amazon River basin.


The discovery helps researchers better understand large-scale climate extremes and the impact of the El Niño phenomenon.

Tree growth is a well-established climate proxy. By comparing growth rings in Cedrela odorata trees found in the Rio Paru watershed of the eastern Amazon River with hundreds of similar chronologies in North and South America, scientists have shown an inverse relationship in tree growth, and therefore precipitation patterns, between the areas. Drought in the Amazon is correlated with wetness in the southwestern United States, Mexico and Patagonia, and vice versa.

The process is driven by the El Niño phenomenon, which influences surface-level winds along the equator, researchers said. El Niño is the name given to a large-scale irregularly occurring climate pattern associated with unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean.

“The new Cedrela chronologies from the Amazon, when compared with the hundreds of tree-ring chronologies in temperate North and South America, document this Pan American resonance of climate and ecosystem extremes in the centuries before widespread deforestation or human-caused climate change,” said Dave Stahle, Distinguished Professor of geosciences and first author of a study documenting the findings in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Credit: University of Arkansas

The connection was not documented until researchers at the University of Arkansas Tree Ring Laboratory, along with colleagues from Brazil and Argentina, developed rainfall reconstructions from growth rings in Cedrela trees. Most rainfall records in the Amazon only date back about 70 years, but Cedrelas live for 200 to 300 years, providing valuable rainfall proxies that pre-date human-influenced climate change. Their work in the Amazon is documented