SEATTLE – A man in Seattle is probably very lucky after officially surviving COVID-19 twice. His case is only the third case in the United States where doctors have confirmed re-creation.
Doctors at Sweden Medical Hospital say the patient was a man in his 60s living in a nursing home who contracted the virus again. He first caught the coronavirus in March and spent more than 40 days in the hospital with severe cases of the virus. Then in July, he was admitted to the hospital again with symptoms.
The test results are confusing, to say the least ̵1; he has the virus again, but this is a different combination. Unfortunately, for him, the doctors said his second fight was less severe.
This revelation is another thing that makes COVID-19 mysterious and unobtrusive for the medical community.
Many know what it feels like to be truly afraid of having a virus. But for some who have contracted it a second time, fear is a small statement.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my experience and a day goes by that I think what if I get sick again,” said coronavirus survivor Michael Flor.
“I was so scared to get it again, I couldn’t imagine what was worse going on,” said another survivor, David.
This is something many fear is possible, but having confirmation is especially difficult for many COVID-19 survivors.
“I have no memory of my first month in the ICU, I really have no memory here other than what people told me,” Flor said.
Flor was admitted to hospital in early March due to the virus. This caused him severe complications, putting him in a compulsory coma. At one point, doctors called his wife and children and told them he did not seem to be able to do it. FaceTime nurses helped them with her so her family could say goodbye.
“It was very emotional, I had no memory of it, but I could hear the trauma in his voice, it was hard, hard to hear that and maybe this was the first time we talked about it that I realized I was about to die,” David said.
Now, to a Seattle patient who has been confirmed to have caught the virus twice, Flor inevitably thinks what if; what if that happened to him.
“It’s very annoying … to be reconstructed again. You know how often you can avoid a bullet? And I thought about it. You know if I get sick again can I beat it a second time? I don’t know, scary, “said Flor.
David tested positive for COVID-19 in early March. But his symptoms did not go away quickly. He continued to get incredibly sick, even though it seemed to leave his system.
David said it was still a huge struggle to fight his long-term symptoms, but he was slowly recovering. But the thought of getting the virus back scared him.
“In a word it’s scary, scary,” he said.
A feeling that he knew he was not alone.
“Re-disinfection is definitely a big topic in the support team that I have here … it has become a major concern for some people, a major major concern,” David said.
Disinfection is a large area that the medical community is just beginning to learn about. Washington State Department of Health says one of the challenges is to get official confirmation that someone has contracted the virus twice, they need to test their initial positive swab, which is often unavailable during possibility to dispose of these clinics after a certain period of time. The DOH said they are working on establishing a forward protocol that will better help them recognize re-graft.