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The author here appears to have writen "who had got COVID-19" simply as "to get COVID-19". The first people had got the disease long ago while the structure of "to get COVID-19" gives me the sense of a future event. This inconsistency in my feelings leads to this thread.

Does the phrase "to get COVID-19" give you a feeling of a future event too? Would "to have got COVID-19" be a bit better?

In her job as a physician at the Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts, Sondra Crosby treated some of the first people in her region to get COVID-19. So when she began feeling sick in April, Crosby wasn’t surprised to learn that she, too, had been infected. At first, her symptoms felt like those of a bad cold, but by the next day, she was too sick to get out of bed. She struggled to eat and depended on her husband to bring her sports drinks and fever-reducing medicine. Then she lost track of time completely. Source: Nature Dec.2, 2020 Could COVID delirium bring on dementia?

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No, it doesn't. The first... to do something is a well-established phrase meaning 'the first who did so'.

'The Savoy Theatre was the first public building to be lit by electricity.' (in 1881)

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