The woman from Dallas had last tested positive in February and she got better after quarantining at home.
The disease that was declared a pandemic has put the entire world on halt, causing multiple fatalities across the globe. Some of those who were infected didn't always make it through to rejoin their families. Many across the world lost a loved one. For those who survived, it was a traumatic period since they were battling something significantly new. But, to battle it twice may be one of the hardest things anyone has had to do.
Meredith McKee first tested positive in February 2020. Back then, she felt "clear and obvious" symptoms, she told NBC 5.
"I had a dry cough like you would not believe. It would not stop,” she recalled. Back then, she stayed home and fought it by herself. Later, once she recovered, she also donated some of her plasma after testing positive for antibodies. "I felt great finally [doing] something good coming out of the hell that I’ve been through because I'm going to help up to eight people with this plasma,” she said.
On June 14, a tearful Meredith posted a photo of herself from the Presbyterian Hospital online and said that she was tested positive again, four months after getting better. "For the SECOND time in 12 weeks, I have contracted Covid19. Yes, you can get it again & it hit me like a ton of bricks...again. I’m here to tell you this is NOT over, it is very real & nothing to be flippant about," she said.
"There are so many unknowns & the CDC cannot tell whether the virus was dormant all this time or if it was a new contraction. It is very different this time but no less horrendous. Plenty of tears & hurting. People, PLEASE take this seriously. ***I should add that I went to the hospital because my BP was 216/147 & I knew there was a serious problem. I had NO signs or symptoms otherwise," she said in a Facebook post.
She said she won't wish this predicament on her enemy. "To be alone in the hospital and not have anyone, you know," she said tearfully. She never imagined that she would get it again. "I was floored when it was positive," she said, according to NBC 5.
It is not known why the virus returns in some patients or if it is contagious the next time. According to some experts, a second positive test might mean that the virus is just taking longer to leave the body, but that it won't be contagious.
"It's possible that people could shed remnants of the virus for some period of time. That doesn't mean anything is wrong with them or that they are contagious," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told NBC 5. Another doctor, Dr. Ania Wajnberg, associate director of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said that they are finding that those who test positive again don't have strands of live virus, according to PEOPLE.
My God her blood pressure was 216/147. Wear a mask people.— Left_Coast_Golfer (@GolfinBum) June 17, 2020
"What we're finding more and more is that the fragments of virus that are being picked up on these swabs weeks later are not able to replicate," she said. "They're not live virus."
Dr. Robert Haley, an epidemiologist at UT Southwestern, added that even though it's possible to get the infection twice those are rare cases. In the case of the Dallas woman, her doctors believe that the virus had been dormant in her body. Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist and the head of the biology department at Texas A&M University-Texarkana told Healthline that positive test for the second time is not necessarily a reactivation of the virus but rather a resurgence. He thinks that people are probably "being discharged with some virus still in them, and then the disease returns."
#COVID19— Doug Shen (@vote4dongshen) June 18, 2020
A Texas woman tested positive for coronavirus again after recovering months earlier from the illness.
Meredith McKee said she beat the virus, even donating plasma twice, before she was admitted again Friday to Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas https://t.co/glYbH2VC8G
Meanwhile, Meredith said that she was concerned that she may have exposed family, friends, and countless strangers to the infection unknowingly. "I'm mortified and I'm seriously devastated," she told NBC 5. She wants everyone to wear a mask, something she wishes she had done.
Disclaimer: As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, Women Working is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments.