LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An elderly Dutch woman has become the first known person to die from catching COVID-19 twice.
There have been some reported cases of reinfection worldwide, most recently a 25-year-old man in Nevada. This could be frightening news for many who have already recovered from the virus once.
Louisville resident Yolanda Bridgewater-Ford got the coronavirus in March. She survived and is doing much better now, but the effects don’t completely go away.
“Still feeling a little tired,” Bridgewater-Ford said.
The thought of going through the second round of COVID is frightening to her.
“I ended up not having my sight,” Bridgewater-Ford said. “Just the whole deal with the hospital and being at home on oxygen. It was a big deal, very scary.”
Dr. Robert Quigley is an infectious disease expert and is also the Senior Vice President and Global Medical Director for International SOS. Quigley said it’s not at all surprising that people are getting reinfected, adding that the virus is mutating and there are different strains of the virus.
“If you’ve had the infection once and you are thinking you may have immunity, you might,” Quigley said. “More likely than not, you will have some immunity only if you are exposed to that same exact virus again with the same nucleotide sequence.”
As far as reinfection, Quigley said he believes the outcome can be different for everyone. Some may suffer harsh symptoms, while others could have mild or no symptoms. As far as a vaccine, Quigley said he believes once it’s available it will provide some immunity.
“Will it be perfect?" Quigley asked. "No, it won’t be perfect. Just like with the flu vaccine, it’s not perfect either because the virus, the influenza virus is constantly mutating. If in fact, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is going to continue to mutate, that means the vaccine based on a particular strain may not be as efficacious as we like.”
That’s why Quigley warned against COVID fatigue. He said mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing are all still critical.
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