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Dutch Woman Becomes First Person Reported to Die After COVID-19 Reinfection

Dutch physicians have recorded the first known death due to coronavirus reinfection. 

According to a report cited by CNN, an 89-year-old woman recently died after contracting COVID-19 for the second time. The patient was said to be immunocompromised as she was also receiving treatment for a rare type of blood cell cancer called Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia; however, experts said her immune system could’ve been strong enough to fight the coronavirus infection because her cancer treatment “does not necessarily result in life threatening disease.”

Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center said the elderly woman tested positive for the novel virus earlier this year after she began exhibiting symptoms like a fever and cough. She was reportedly hospitalized for nearly a week, and was eventually discharged once the symptoms had gone away.

About two months later, the woman began another round of chemotherapy treatment and once again started experiencing a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. A subsequent test confirmed she had been infected with COVID-19 and no antibodies were found her blood in the following days. Researchers later found that the strains from her first and second infections differed, indicating “that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding.” The woman died two weeks later.

The case marks the first recorded death following a coronavirus reinfection; however, there have been a handful of confirmed reinfections across the world. On Tuesday, it was reported that a 25-year-old Nevada man was the first known American to have contracted the disease twice. Unlike the Dutch woman, the Nevada man had no known underlying health conditions, but his second infection was said to have been much worse than the first.

“It means that it is possible to get reinfected, that’s all it really tells us,” Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, told CNBC. “It doesn’t tell us that protective immunity is impossible. It is worth remembering that this might be just one of a very small handful of reinfections, it might be very rare, or it might be one of the very first few we are going to see a lot more of given time.”

The American patient has since recovered.

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Dutch PM Orders ‘Partial Lockdown’ To Halt Coronavirus Surge

The Netherlands will go into “partial lockdown” to curb one of Europe’s biggest coronavirus surges, with all bars, cafes and restaurants to close, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday.

The sale of alcohol and cannabis will also be banned after 8pm (1800 GMT) in a bid to reduce the social contacts that have led to the rise in Covid-19 cases, Rutte said of the steps.

After long refusing to make the wearing of masks compulsory, Rutte finally ordered that non-medical face coverings must also be worn in all indoor spaces by people aged over 13.

“We are going into a partial lockdown. It hurts but it’s the only way, we have to be stricter,” Rutte told a televised press conference.

“If we do all of this, we can quickly return to a more normal life.”

The rules will take effect at 10pm (2000 GMT) Wednesday and will last for an initial period of two weeks, when the government will review whether they have halted the spread of the virus.

The Dutch government for months opted for what Rutte called an “intelligent lockdown” policy that was far more relaxed than its European neighbours.

But it has scrambled to control the second wave of the disease.

The Netherlands currently has the third highest rate of new infections per 100,000 people in Europe over the last 14 days, behind only the Czech Republic and Belgium, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

After long refusing to make the wearing of masks compulsory, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte finally ordered that non-medical face coverings must also be worn in all indoor spaces by people aged over 13 After long refusing to make the wearing of masks compulsory, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte finally ordered that non-medical face coverings must also be worn in all indoor spaces by people aged over 13 Photo: ANP / Bart Maat

Dutch health authorities on Wednesday reported a daily record of 7,393 new coronavirus infections, with 43,903 new cases over the past week and 150 deaths.

Among the new measures, team sports for over 18s are banned, while people are now limited to having three visitors at their home per day.

The new steps largely target the catering and entertainments industry where the government says the disease is spreading.

Restaurants and cafes will close for everything except takeaway, as will the Netherlands’ famous “coffee shops” that sell cannabis.

“No more alcohol or soft drugs will be sold or delivered between 8:00pm and 7:00am,” the government’s new regulations say, while public consumption of either is also banned during those hours.

The Netherlands has also lagged behind other European countries in ordering the wearing of masks, but Rutte said he wanted to “settle a lingering discussion once and for all”.

The Dutch government gave “urgent advice” to wear masks in its last set of measures two weeks ago, but “that did not provide sufficient clarity” and many people continued to go without them, said Rutte.

Rutte, who marks ten years in power on Wednesday, has faced growing criticism over the government’s failure to rein in coronavirus cases.

Populist opposition parties in particular have been using the Covid-19 crisis to push their

Dutch woman becomes first person to die after being reinfected with coronavirus

DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS - 2020/06/29: A patient bed ridden after a surgery at the care unit. Amid relaxation of the coronavirus crisis, operations in the hybrid operating room under the shunt intensive care unit have fully resumed at Albert Schweitzer Hospital normal care. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A patient in a hospital in Dordrecht in the Netherlands. (Getty)

A woman in the Netherlands has become the first person to die after being reinfected with coronavirus.

The elderly patient was the subject of an academic paper recently published by the Oxford University Press which said that the woman died 59 days after the start of her first bout of the virus.

The 89-year-old reportedly also suffered from a rare bone marrow type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was diagnosed with coronavirus for a second time just two days after beginning chemotherapy.

Researchers tested her during both episodes and confirmed that the genetic makeup of the virus was different, making it likely that the woman was indeed suffering from reinfection.

DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS - 2020/06/29: A health worker gets prepared at the isolation ward of Albert Schweitzer Hospital where the last four coronavirus patients are located. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The woman was discharged from hospital after her first brush with coronavirus. (Getty)

They also noted that her symptoms appeared to have “subsided entirely” when she was discharged from hospital after first being infected with coronavirus.

Lead researcher Mark Pandori, from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in the US, said: “While more research is needed, the possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of COVID-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine.

Read more: Covid-19 reinfection casts doubt on virus immunity: study

“It also strongly suggests that individuals who have tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 should continue to take serious precautions when it comes to the virus, including social distancing, wearing face masks, and handwashing.”

There have only been 23 cases of reinfection worldwide so far according to the researchers, and in all previous cases the patients have made a full recovery.

The first recorded reinfection was a 33-year-old Hong Kong national in August whose second infection was reportedly asymptomatic.

Experts believed that since the second infection was less severe there appeared to be some “immunological memory”.

Prior to the Dutch case, however, a 25-year-old man in Nevada caught the virus twice with the second case being more severe than the first.

The man needed hospital treatment after his lungs could not get enough oxygen into his body, but he has since recovered.

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