Doctors told his fiancée, Jena Parris, that he had a 50-50 chance of survival.
Flash before last Saturday, and Parris was hit by a wave of deja vu when she came home to find Ripe struggling to breathe.
“I was numb for a few days. I thought there was no way it would happen a third time, there just is no way, ”Parris said.
Ripe, who beat the odds at the time, battled a milder case of the virus in January.
He was vaccinated in March.
Yet on Saturday night, although he had not shown any previous symptoms, Parris knew it must have been COVID-19 again when she heard the fluid in his lungs.
She rushed him to the emergency room. And an hour later, Parris got a familiar call.
Ripe was intubated and was awaiting an available intensive care bed.
Parris said they didn’t know of any underlying condition that would make Ripe more susceptible to the virus, but doctors are researching.
“They’re baffled, to be honest,” Parris said.
She said they believed the first-round lung damage and pneumonia played a role in the severity this time around. She said they also told her it could be worse.
Ripe’s case is one of less than 2% of vaccinated people who have been hospitalized with a breakthrough case of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
“I’ve had all the doctors tell me he’s in as bad a condition as he is, he said if he hadn’t had the vaccine he probably wouldn’t be there. “
This brings some comfort to Parris, as does the ability to see Ripe through Facetime.
Still, she said not being able to be with him in person doesn’t get any easier.
Parris and her daughter have tested negative for the virus each time.