By CASEY SMITH, IRENA HWANG and COLLIN BINKLEY Associated Press
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — College towns across the U.S. have emerged as virus hot spots in recent weeks as schools struggle to contain the virus. In many cases, surges have been blamed on off-campus parties. An Associated Press analysis found that among the 50 U.S. counties with the highest shares of students and overall populations of at least 50,000, 20 have consistently reported higher virus rates than their states. In those 20 counties, weekly infection rates have been three times as high as their states’ overall rates. The county around Ball State University in Indiana kept virus rates low over the summer but quickly became the state’s virus epicenter after students returned.