SEATTLE – A man in Seattle probably feels very lucky after officially surviving COVID-19 twice. His case is only the third case in the United States where doctors confirmed re-infection.
Doctors at Swedish Medical Hospital say the patient is a man in his 60s living in a nursing home who got the virus again. He first got coronavirus in March and spent over 40 days in the hospital with a severe case of the virus. Then in July he was hospitalized again with symptoms.
The test results were disturbing to say the least ̵
This revelation is another thing that makes COVID-19 so mysterious and unsettling to the medical community.
Many people know what it is like to feel the real fear of getting the virus. But for the few who have entered into a second time, fear is an understatement.
“There’s not a day goes by that I do not think about my experience, and a day that goes by that I think what if I get sick again,” said coronavirus survivor Michael Flor.
“I’m afraid of getting it back, I can not imagine anything worse happening,” said another survivor, David.
This is something that many feared was possible, but it is especially difficult to have confirmation for many COVID-19 survivors.
“I have no memory of my first month at the ICU, I really have no memory of it other than what people told me,” Flor said.
Flor was hospitalized in early March due to the virus. It caused him such serious complications that he was put in an induced coma. At one point, doctors called his wife and children and told them it looked like he would not make it. Nurses helped them FaceTime with him so his family could say goodbye.
“It’s very emotional, I do not remember it, but I could hear the trauma in her voice, it was difficult, it was difficult to listen to it, and it was probably the first time we talked about it, that I realized that I almost died, ”said David.
Now, with a patient in Seattle confirmed to have caught the virus twice, it’s inevitable for Flor to think what if; what if it happened to him.
“It’s extremely shocking … to be infected again. Do you know how often you can dodge a bullet? And I’ve been thinking about it. Do you know if I got sick again, I would be able to beat it another time? I do not know, it’s scary, “Flor said.
David tested positive for COVID-19 in early March. But his symptoms did not go away quickly. He constantly became incredibly ill, even after it apparently left his system.
David said it is still a huge battle that fights his long-term symptoms, but he is slowly getting better. But the thought of getting the virus back scares him.
“In a word, it’s scary, scary,” he said.
It’s a feeling that he knows he’s not alone.
“Reinfection is definitely a big topic in the support group I’m in … it’s been a big anxiety for some people, big bigger anxiety,” David said.
Reinfection is a major area that the medical community has just begun to learn more about. The Washington State Department of Health says one of the challenges is that in order to get official confirmation that someone has contracted the virus twice, they must be able to test their initial positive cotton swab, which is often unavailable. as clinics tend to throw them out after a certain period of time. The DOH says they are working to establish a protocol going forward that can better help them identify re-infection.