Doctors in China say patients who recover from coronavirus can be reinfected — and if that happens, they become significantly more likely to suffer fatal heart attacks due to the nature of the virus and the effect of the medicine used to treat it, according to the Taiwan News.
The information comes from doctors working in the Hubei province of China, where the virus originated, who spoke under the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from the Chinese government, which has attempted to suppress information about the virus outbreak and punish those who leak info.
"It's highly possible to get infected a second time," a doctor told the Taiwan News. "A few people recovered from the first time by their own immune system, but the meds they use are damaging their heart tissue, and when they get it the second time, the antibody doesn't help but makes it worse, and they die a sudden death from heart failure."
Additionally, the true scope of the infections still may not be known, due to some complicating variables. Chinese doctors have had issues with false negatives from the coronavirus tests, with cases in which X-rays reveal significant lung infections for people who tested negative for coronavirus multiple times.
That may be part of the reason China abruptly decided last week to change the way it counted cases of the virus. At first, only confirmed positive cases were counted. Now, China is counting people who are diagnosed by way of symptoms, even if they have not tested positive. The change caused a sudden spike in the number of both cases of the virus, and resulting deaths.
A doctor also told Taiwan News that the virus can be present in a person without symptoms for up to 24 days, and that the virus has "outsmarted all of us." If true, many people could be both unknowingly infected, and potentially infecting others, creating huge problems for public health officials desperately attempting to stop the spread.
As of Monday, there are more than 70,000 cases of coronavirus in China, with the death toll nearing 1,800 people.