Dutch woman becomes first known death from a COVID-19 reinfection


An elderly woman in the Netherlands is the first reported person to die after becoming infected with COVID-19 a second time, according to a new study.

The unidentified 89-year-old woman — who had a rare form of cancer — tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year after going to a hospital emergency room with “fever and severe cough,” said the study published in the peer-reviewed journal, “Clinical Infectious Diseases.”

“She was discharged after 5 days and besides some persisting fatigue her symptoms subsided completely,” said the study in the official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. No date was given for the tests or her discharge.

But 59 days later, she “developed fever, cough” and had difficulty breathing — and tested positive a second time.

The second infection came just two days after her latest round of chemotherapy for a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma called Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, which compromised her immune system. However, two tests for coronavirus antibodies both came back negative.

“At day 8, the condition of the patient deteriorated. She died two weeks later,” the study said, again without giving dates.

The Dutch woman had not been tested in between her two bouts of coronavirus — but “the two strains differed” notably, the team of Dutch researchers wrote.

“It is likely that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding,” the study insisted.