Cornell University gives exclusive look at how it has contained COVID-19

The university has been using "pooled testing" and students have been avoiding parties to keep the school’s infection rate low.
3:16 | 09/22/20

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Transcript for Cornell University gives exclusive look at how it has contained COVID-19
story as colleges across the country are struggling with coronavirus outbreaks, Cornell university is reporting it has managed to contain the spread and this morning they're giving us an exclusive look at their massive testing efforts. Let's go back to Tom llamas on campus there in ithaca, new York. Good morning, Tom. Reporter: Robin, good morning. Schools like the university of Colorado at Boulder and the university of Arizona in Tucson had to go virtual because of recent outbreaks. At Cornell they've been able to drive the infection rate low, very low. They're doing it through a combination of robust testing, students are getting tested twice a week, and they're making sure the students fall a strict set of rules. This morning as colleges across the country deal with covid outbreaks, "Gma" getting exclusive access to one university that may have discovered an innovative way to contain the virus. It's new and different. It's starting to feel a little more normal. Reporter: The new normal for students at Cornell university in upstate New York means masks on, sometimes dining alone, spaced out lecture halls, most importantly testing, lots of it. Every Monday and Friday you get tested? Yes. I come into campus and get tested. Reporter: At Cornell, the students do it themselves. You take the swab and put it in both nostrils. Then you're done. Reporter: Cornell is conducting nearly 50,000 tests a week using a method called pool testing. We collect samples from multiple people. We combine them and run one test. If that comes back negative, we know the people don't have the virus. If it's positive, we test each individually. Reporter: The infection rate is well below 1%. Early on they had problems with clusters. They had some parties before we started our surveillance testing. We quickly sent the message those behaviors have consequences. No house parties? Not at all. Reporter: Cornell's biggest weapon against covid may have the students themselves just following the rules. Several students say pandemic partying is no longer part of campus life. It's definitely looked down upon. There's a lot of universities already shut down. We take it seriously here. We campus for the semester. Reporter: Cornell has a hotel on campus to isolate students that get infected. They said their labs are working around the clock. One more advantage they have, Michael, as you can see ithaca such a beautiful place, it's also very remote. It's hard to get here. That helps them maintain the throw of students. Great to see students take ownership of the situation. Tom, thank you. Now to the man who has done

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