‘I Think I Am So Irresistible': Cancer Survivor Becomes Infected with COVID-19 Four Times

According to Paul Schalch, an otolaryngologist when a person is immunocompromised as in the case of López who had breast cancer, cases of reinfection of the coronavirus are more common

Clarissa Lopez survived breast cancer and now has an ongoing fight against the coronavirus that has infected her four times.

More than three years later, COVID-19 continues to surprise us, and despite endless studies on the pandemic, it continues to be a mystery and people have had to learn to live with COVID-19.

"COVID-19 does not play, it is here to stay. I think it fell in love with me, I think I am so irresistible," says Clarissa López, who laughs today, but when she’s under the clutches of COVID-19, she does not want to smile.

"It's been ugly, horrible. I don't wish it on anyone. It's not fun," she says.

López has fallen ill with COVID-19 on four occasions: The first time she got ill was in December 2021, the second was in March 2022; in June 2022, and at the end of July.

"I went back to the hospital. My oxygen level dropped. I was drowning. They had to take me to the emergency room," says the 52-year-old woman.

According to Paul Schalch Lepe, an otolaryngologist, when a person is immunocompromised, like Lopez who had breast cancer, cases of reinfection of the coronavirus are more common.

"There are people whose immune system doesn't generate a lasting response against the virus, so it protects them for a while after an infection, but once that time passes, infection can become a possibility again if exposed," Schalch explains.

However, because her positive results to COVID-19 have been in the span of seven months, Schalch believes that it is most likely that these are new infections to different strains.

López has had to isolate herself at home several times and rely on organizations such as Club Libertad Justicia and Ley to survive, who each week take food pantries to homes of people infected with COVID-19.

"Their relatives sometimes do not want to support their own family and we as an organization support them, we do not go inside their home, we just put them [food] outside," says Raquel Alameda of the Club Libertad Justicia y Ley.

Early in the pandemic López, who Telemundo 20 spoke to while selling masks on a street corner in Golden Hills, didn't believe COVID-19 was as serious as health authorities said it was. She since has been vaccinated and has the booster.  

Because of her bad experience with the pandemic, she feels her life is in limbo, "Tomorrow is not promised. I love my life."

She now lives in constant fear of catching COVID-19 again. Meanwhile, López has undergone a series of studies with an infection specialist to learn in-depth why she has been infected on several occasions.

This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.

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