The spread of COVID-19 has been measured in cities, towns, states, prisons, nursing homes, and universities. Among universities, there are 16 that have reported over 5,000 cases. In one, the case count topped 8,000.
The New York Times reports that there have been 9,914 confirmed cases at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The University of Florida is a public land grant research university and part of the State University System of Florida. It claims to be the third-largest university in Florida based on student population, which it puts at almost 58,000. Of these 81% are state residents and 65% are undergraduates. It puts its four-year graduation rate at 67%, and its six-year graduation rate at 89%.
The University of Florida ranks poorly on many independent evaluations of institutions of higher education in America. U.S. News ranks it 30th among National Universities.
Why did the numbers of COVID-19 cases get so high at The University of Florida? No one has given an adequate explanation. One simple answer takes into account the sheer size of the student body. However, there are much largest campuses in America based on that yardstick. Another is that the state was among several states that had lax rules on business openings, masks, and social distancing. The lax rules have also been blamed for a winter surge that took the state by storm, particularly in its large cities.
The University of Florida will almost certainly always have the ignominious title as the university that had the most COVID-19 cases, no matter what the reason.