18-year-old gets COVID-19 for second time, dies with “serious lung infection”


  • Wilber Portillo died on November 19, with his second bout with COVID-19.
  • The 18-year-old first contracted the virus in October, just a few weeks before his death.
  • His family wanted people to remember him with his motto “Be the best you.”

After getting infected with the novel coronavirus for the second time, 18-year-old Wilber Portillo died on November 19, his friends and family said.

His girlfriend Andrea Ferrel told KDVR that Portillo first contracted the virus in October. She added that her boyfriend took a four-week quarantine then and got sick again a week after.

“He was just getting better. He had about a week of COVID-free before getting sick again,” Ferrel said.

Oscar Castillo, Portillo’s uncle, told Denverite that the first time his nephew contracted the virus was after a business trip to Los Angeles. Portillo was a CEC Early College graduate who launched an online sporting goods retailer called My Journey My Success.

According to Ferrel, Portillo went to see a doctor on November 18 and was told that he had a “really strong infection in his lungs.” He was then advised to take Tylenol.

“That was the last [time] I heard from him,” she recalled. “He just went to sleep” and never woke up back.

Castillo said that on that doctor’s visit, Portillo took a COVID-19 test, with positive result coming out two days after his death.

“It’s a little bit difficult to know that he doesn’t exist physically anymore,” Castillo told Denverite. “He was a guy with a lot of light.”

For Portillo’s family, his death was “an unexpected loss for all of us.”

To help in transporting Portillo’s remains to his parents in El Salvador, a GoFundMe campaign was created to raise funds.

“On behalf of Wilber’s family, we want you to remember him for the happy soul he was. His family and friends know that Wilber had a positive outlook on life,” the fundraiser’s description read.

“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.”

COVID-19 reinfections have been reported, but remain to be rare, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The United States has more than 23,983,600 COVID-19 infections as of Monday, based on the New York Times database.

Sources: PEOPLE.com, KDVR

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