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BYU-Idaho: College students in Rexburg may purposely seek to contract COVID-19

The university says it’s “deeply troubled" that students would engage in behavior in an effort to be paid to donate plasma that contains COVID-19 antibodies.
Coronavirus pandemic
Coronavirus pandemic(KYOU)
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:17 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - College students in Rexburg are possibly getting the coronavirus on purpose to then sell their plasma, according to an email from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Now we want to be clear that at this time, these are just rumors.

College students in Rexburg are possibly getting the coronavirus on purpose to then sell their plasma
College students in Rexburg are possibly getting the coronavirus on purpose to then sell their plasma(Rachel Fabbi)

The email states the school condemns the behavior and such actions leave administrators “deeply troubled.” The message stated the university is looking for evidence that such conduct is happening among the student body.

The email also reads “students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed.”

KMVT talked with Dr. Steven Nemerson, the chief clinical officer at Saint Alphonsus Health System, about the risk of the disease in young adults.

“Fundamentally purposefully getting COVID-19 as we’ve described it here, it’s a game of Russian roulette," Nemerson said. "And while a young person may only have a 1 in a 1000 chance of dying from the disease, I wouldn’t want those odds for any patient anywhere, and that is not a game to play.”

Dr. Kenny Bramwell, the St. Luke’s Children’s Medical Director, also reminds people about the risk of MIS-C, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and how serious it can be.

“One of the cases was severe enough where the patient ultimately needed to be taken in an airplane to another city, to await a heart transplant,” Bramwell said. “This was a previously healthy teenager, who is now going to have a heart transplant.”

KMVT did reach out to the BYU-Idaho, as well as the plasma donation center in Rexburg for comment on the matter, but our emails and calls were never returned.

KMVT also talked with the Eastern Idaho Public Health District public information officer Mimi Taylor, who said that they’ve heard rumors about the situation, but have no way to prove students are getting COVID-19 on purpose.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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