The Potential of COVID-19 Reinfection in Federal Prisons and the Need for More Compassionate Release

Evidence about COVID-19 reinfection is starting to appear. Find out more about what this means for federal inmates here.
coronavirus covid-19 compassionate release

Evidence about COVID-19 reinfection is starting to appear. CNN has three stories of individuals who appear to have been reinfected with COVID-19.

Nevada Man appears to be reinfected per CNN and the Lancet

CNN reported that a Nevada man appeared to be infected with two different strains of COVID-19. He was first diagnosed in April after he “had a sore throat, cough, headache, nausea and diarrhea.” He recovered in late April of 2020 and had two negative tests afterward.

He then sought care for “fever, headahe, dizziness, cough, nausea and diarrhea. He was hospitalized and was on ongoing oxygen support. He was tested again for COVID-19 and the results were positive. The analysis of the specimens suggested that he had two distinct viral infections. A medical study surrounding this case was also published in the Medical Journal The Lancet.

Hong Kong Man Becomes First Known COVID-19 Reinfection

The same CNN story also mentioned a Hong Kong man getting reinfected with COVID-19. Doctors found that he was infected with two strains of the virus 142 days apart. During the second infection, he had no obvious symptoms.

Dutch Woman Dies After Second Infection

CNN also tracked the story of a Dutch woman that died after reinfection with COVID-19. She was first admitted to the hospital with severe cough and fever and tested positive for COVID-19. She was discharged five days later. However, 59 days later she developed fever, cough and difficulty breathing. She tested positive for COVID-19. No antibodies were found from her previous infection. She passed away from her illness after a three-week bout.

The Impact on Reinfection in Federal Prisons

Both incarcerated persons and staff are still testing positive for COVID-19. The structural problems that lead to high rates of infection are still present: the inability to physically distance inmates from each other, lack of PPE, Incarcerated persons are still dying from the disease.

We have heard some incarcerated persons tell us that BOP guards and other staff have told them that “all the inmates are going to get [COVID-19] anyway,” insinuating an unofficial herd immunity experiment. Without appropriate testing, tracing, isolation, and medical care, this could lead to disastrous results. But who in the Bureau of Prisons knows or understands the potential for reinfection?

How many people outside of prison have been reinfected asymptomatically, did not know it, and passed it on to others? How many people have been reinfected with a mild case and did not seek medical attention believing that they were fine? And if that is the case for them, how do we know that it hasn’t happened inside the walls of the prisons?

In many situations we have heard of individuals who have passed out or gone unconscious while in BOP custody for a myriad of illnesses. In those situations we have been told that BOP staff did nothing, insinuating that they had overdosed on drugs (how did they get those?). What if that has happened or will happen to someone with a COVID-19 reinfection? What science have the BOP staff reviewed? What about the prosecutors?

The Lancet Article Should Serve as Exhibit A to your Compassionate Release Motion

As we have stated before, Compassionate Release is the best option for a person concerned about COVID-19 infection or reinfection. Consider attaching a personal statement about what you have heard or seen from the BOP staff about infection or reinfection risk along with the science from the Lancet article as an attached exhibit and links to the above CNN stories as footnotes. It is up to the claimant (in this case, the incarcerated person) to present the evidence that they believe will assist the claim (in this case, the risk of COVID-19 infection or reinfection). Our office is prepared to assist, reach out at the information below.

About the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon:

Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon has been an award winning federal criminal defense firm since 2012. We have had favorable outcomes in more than 70 cases in the past four years. Our entire staff is committed to providing excellent service to our clients and their families. We encourage you to contact our office today to visit with us on how we might be able to help you or your loved one get the representation they deserve. You can also add us on Facebook or Twitter.  You can sign up for our newsletter below.

Schedule your free consultation

Sign up for our newsletter!