ORLANDO, Fla. – Many people think if you get COVID-19 once, you can’t get it again.
Even President Donald Trump has used “immunity” to justify being on the campaign trail without a mask after contracting the virus, but more research and patients are emerging suggesting you can get the virus twice.
Adan Stadler is one of them.
“The symptoms just slowly progressed and got worse through that month,” Stadler told News 6 about his first bout of COVID-19.
Adam Stadler and Audrey Stadler have been through it.
Adam Stadler has only been home for a few days after getting sick three times with two hospitalizations since April.
“He almost died the first time after getting a blood clot in his lungs,” Audrey Stadler said. “The second time Adam felt like he was gonna die. The third time Adam was knocking on the door,” she said.
“I actually almost coded one night,” Adam Stadler said, finishing his wife’s sentence.
Adam Stadler first got COVID-19 at the end of March and was treated at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston.
“I was in severe respiratory distress,” he said.
He was released from the hospital in May and he even got a certificate saying he survived COVID.
After quarantining at home for two weeks, two tests over two days showed he was negative for the virus.
Then Audrey Stadler contracted COVID at the end of June.
“She coughed up blood for 14 hours,” Adam Stadler said.
Thinking he was immune, Adam Stadler took care of his wife and weeks after his first COVID diagnosis, he got sick again and tested positive for COVID-19.
He said it was worse the second time.
“It was the worst case of COVID without having to go to the hospital and be on a ventilator that you can possibly experience,” Adam Stadler said.
Dr. Joseph Varon is the chief medical officer at United Memorial Medical Center and he treated the Stadlers.
“You can get COVID-19 twice,” Varon said. “That’s extremely important, because a lot of your viewers probably think that because they had COVID once, nothing happens to them again and that’s not true,” Varon said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms cases of reinfection of COVID-19 have been reported but are rare.
Scientists in China documented a case involving a 33-year-old man from Hong Kong.
Another study documented a case involving a 25-year-old man from Nevada, who also contracted the virus twice.
The virus had genetically significant differences with each instance of infection, according to the study.
And a Wisconsin doctor confirmed another case earlier this month to CBS News.
The cases raise significant questions about immunity, which the president brought up just last week.
“I’m immune they say. They say if you’ve had it, you’re immune,” Trump told reporters before boarding a flight without a mask.
“The immunity is questionable,” Varon said. “This is not the first patient we’ve had, by the way, with repeated episodes of COVID,” he said.
Researches initially thought if you did contract the virus twice, the second case would not be as severe, but that was not the case with Adam Stadler or the 25-year-old from Nevada.
“People need to be very careful with that. Don’t drop your guard because you’ve had COVID,” Varon said.
Based on interviews with doctors, information from the CDC, and medical studies, we give, “Can you contract COVID-19 twice?” a rating of true on the Trust Index.