Denver teen dies after battling COVID-19 twice

The doctor told Wilber Portillo that he had a 'strong infection.' He went to sleep that night, and he never woke up.

Wilber Portillo, an 18-year-old young man in Denver, died after contracting COVID-19 for what his family and friends say was a second time. 

Portillo’s cousin and his girlfriend assert that Portillo tested positive for the virus in early October and again in mid-November just two days before he died. 

Wilber Portillo contracted COVID-19 the first week of October, and after he quarantined and recovered, believed he had immunity. Within a month, he was sick again. (GoFundMe)

He reportedly went to the doctor on Nov. 18, where he was told that he had a “strong infection” in his lungs. That night, he went to sleep, he and never woke up. 

According to a local report, Portillo contracted COVID-19 the first week of October, and after he quarantined and recovered, believed he had immunity. His girlfriend, Andrea Ferrel, maintained that he still practiced social distancing. 

However, within a month, he was sick again. 

Read More: Georgia teen released from Cayman Islands prison after violating COVID-19 rules

“Just because you’re young, you aren’t immune to it,” Ferrel said, “and even though we see more cases with older people and people with health conditions and even people without health conditions, it’s important that you stay home.”

Portillo was a frequent volunteer. One of the organizations where he worked, Metro Caring, wrote of him on Twitter: “He loved snowboarding, entrepreneurship and inspiring others. Wilber Portillo was 18 and infected by COVID when he died Nov. 19.”

Read More: NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns, who lost mother to virus, tests positive for COVID-19

A GoFundMe effort organized by Portillo cousin Jamie Gomez that has since ended noted: “If there’s anything we would like for you to remember Wilber by is, BE THE BEST YOU. This was his motto, be the best you, live life to the fullest. We also hope to seek awareness that COVID-19 is to be taken seriously. No matter how young or healthy you may seem. Please stay at home as much as you can unless it is for essential needs.”

The fund raised over $13,000 for Portillo’s funeral services. 

Public Health England, an association of health care workers in Great Britain, noted that studies show antibody infection typically lasts five months. The potential for reinfection is typically higher in health care workers or those who work in essential roles that are public-facing. 

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!