Like some of you, NBC 5 has seen social media posts about so-called “Corona Mixers” – people getting together with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, in hopes of contracting the illness and building immunity.
In at least one North Texas social media parent group, some questioned whether they should allow their healthy children to play with a child who has tested positive for the coronavirus in hopes of building antibodies.
Dallas County Health and Human Servies said it hasn’t received formal complaints about mixers. It’s unclear if the online chatter was just talk or if people have intentionally exposed their families to COVID-19. But, health officials said it’s important people understand the consequences.
“I can’t emphasize this enough, do not do this,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Health and UT Southwestern.
Kahn explained that while COVID-19 is relatively uncommon in kids, it’s unclear if there are long-term consequences for those who are exposed. He said some children may see mild symptoms, but there are rare cases of children who develop a complication called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) – an illness marked by inflammation that can limit blood flow and damage the heart and other critical organs.
Kahn said there was no proof someone could avoid a more serious illness later with intentional exposure now, pointing to reports of patients contracting COVID-19 twice.
“If your child gets infected, there’s no guarantee that child is protected against future infection. On just about every level, the logic behind these COVID mixers falls apart terribly,” Kahn said.
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The mixer idea harkens back to chickenpox parties when parents intentionally exposed healthy kids to a child with a chickenpox infection. Chickenpox is often more serious in adults.
Doctors don’t recommend chickenpox parties either, and unlike chickenpox, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19. Also, adults in the house would not be immune.
“There’s a wide range of severe illness that could result from these and the impact on other family members and community members,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said. “This is not a good thing to do."
“If you’re considering this, please pause and think about the implications of doing this. You’re going to put your child at risk, you’re going to put people in your home at risk and potentially propagate the infection in the community,” Kahn said.