College students may be intentionally getting COVID-19 to sell plasma, school says

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REXBURG, Idaho (NEXSTAR) – Officials at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus are warning students that intentionally contracting COVID-19 is grounds for possible permanent dismissal, according to a statement on the school’s website.

“BYU-Idaho is deeply troubled by accounts of individuals who have intentionally exposed themselves or others to COVID-19, with the hope of getting the disease and being paid for plasma that contains COVID-19 antibodies,” according to the statement.

The university warned on Sept. 25 that it might have to close the campus if the school failed to stay under coronavirus thresholds laid out by Eastern Idaho Public Health. That hasn’t happened so far, and the school is urging students to be responsible to avoid shutting down in-person instruction.

“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter,” the statement reads. “Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community.”

Idaho is seeing a renewed spike in daily cases in September and October after numbers jumped up over the summer, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

While the state saw only a couple dozen new cases per day in May, that number rose rapidly as the summer progressed, reaching 586 on July 18. Those numbers fell from that peak to 230 new daily cases on Sept. 10, before steadily increasing again to a new high of 606 cases on Oct. 09.

On Tuesday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 49,247 total cases and 512 deaths from coronavirus.

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