A mother-of-nine contracted COVID-19 TWICE within four months and is still suffering the effects of the second bout of the coronavirus.
Ida Norton, 49, who first tested positive in May, was horrified to get a second positive reading in September, along with 11 members of her family – including her two-year-old granddaughter.
“Given my age, I didn’t think I would survive,” said Ida.
“I’m obese. I weigh 220lbs and I’m 5ft 4in.”
Ida, of Anchorage, Alaska, feared for her life when she first caught the virus.
She said: “I felt like I wasn’t really sick except for the tightness of my chest and the sore throat. Mentally, I was horrified.
“I was distraught and I didn’t know what to expect.”
Ida, who works for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and is tested once a week as part of her job, did not suffer extensive physical symptoms the first time, but it took a toll on her mental health.
She isolated for three weeks and was given a clean bill of health. She continued to practise social distancing, wore a mask and washed her hands frequently.
But on September 29, Ida, mother to Laura, 31, Tommie, 28, Tasha, 27, Tanille, 25, Perry Jr, 21, and adopted children Aliana, 16, Elijah, 14, Keona, 13 and Isabel, 12, tested positive again.
The virus infected not only Ida, but 11 other members of her family, split between two households – Tanille, Elijah, Perry Jr, Laura, Laura’s partner Robert, 25, their two children Alexis, seven, and Blasie, nine, Ida’s niece Audrey, 31, and her sons Brian, 16, and Dallas, 12, and Ida’s granddaughter Farah, two.
Ida’s physical symptoms, however, were much worse than her first experience with the virus.
She said: “I had fever and body ache. It was sometimes painful to get out of bed. Even today, I have a sore throat that won’t go away.
“We all lost our appetite – we would have scrambled eggs and jello because we knew we had to eat.
“About three or four days after getting the results, we lost our sense of smell and taste. It took at least a week for us to get that back. It took about eight days until I got back to normal.”
Luckily Ida and her family were able to recover at home and did not need to go to the hospital.
She was astonished that she caught the virus for a second time.
Ida said that shock turned to fury at how the government had mismanaged the pandemic in her opinion.
“I didn’t know it was possible to test positive for the second time,” she added.
“I was mad with how it was mishandled locally and nationally.
“I felt like this could have been avoided in so many ways, even if President Trump had just agreed to wear a mask.
“The way it’s spreading now in Alaska is out of hand and we are shutting down again.”
Ida shared her experience to urge others to follow guidelines such as social distancing, mask wearing and washing hands.
“Care for your friends and family,” she said.
“Let’s care for other human beings so we can all be safe.”
Experts say it is possible to be reinfected with COVID-19, but extremely rare.
According to Dr Soumya Swaminathan, a chief scientist at the World Health Organization, there have been 38 million cases worldwide and only a couple of dozen cases of reinfection reported so far.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that people should be careful of assuming they have immunity.
He said: “Well-documented cases of people who were infected, after a relatively brief period of time measured anywhere from weeks to several months come back, get exposed and get infected again.”