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According to CNN, an elderly Dutch woman from the Netherlands passed away after battling Covid-19 the second time on Tuesday, Oct.13, 2020. There have been other reported cases of COVID-19 reinfection, but this is the known first death.
The 89-year-old woman suffered from a rare white blood cell cancer called Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia. Her immune system was compromised due to the bone marrow disease and the cell-depletion therapy she was receiving when she was reinfected with the virus. She visited the emergency room with a fever and severe cough and tested positive for the virus.
She was released from the hospital five days later and recovered at home from most of her symptoms except severe fatigue.
Fifty-nine days after the first COVID-19 episode and two days after into her chemotherapy treatment, she tested positive with no antibodies detected in her blood. She passed away two weeks later.
After researchers examined the samples from both cases, the two COVID-19 viruses’ genetic makeup indicated that they were different strains. The older woman was never tested in between to confirm if she was negative for the virus. The mutation rate of the virus indicated the second time was reinfection of coronavirus.
This is the first time someone died from a second spell of the infection. Other cases of reinfection have been reported worldwide.
Most recently, a 25-year-old resident of Washoe County, Nevada. He is the first person known to be reinfected in the United States.
He tested positive for COVID-19 in April and again in June. He has no underlying health conditions but suffered a more severe episode the second time, similar to the Dutch woman. The difference between him and the Dutch woman is that he developed an antibody response before being reinfected.
Written by Jessica Letcher
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
CNN: Dutch woman dies after catching Covid-19 twice, the first reported reinfection death; Amy Cassidy
CBS News: Woman who died after catching COVID-19 twice believed to be first case of death after reinfection; Caitlin O’Kane
The Jerusalem Post: 89-year-old Dutch woman dies after reinfected with coronavirus; Tzvi Joffre
Features Image Courtesy of NTNU medisin of helse’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Offical U.S. Navy Page’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License