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Can You Get COVID-19 Twice?

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Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, pandemic, social distancing, unprecedented: Within the course of a few months, these words have become staples in our everyday conversations. Scary together and apart, each word has swept the nation almost as quickly as the coronavirus itself. As scientists, doctors, and average citizens alike try to learn all they can about this pandemic, the mountain of questions surrounding COVID-19 continues to grow and reshape. One of the most commonly asked questions is: Can someone get COVID-19 twice? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other institutions around the world are all conducting epidemiological studies to learn more about the SARS-CoV2 strain behind coronavirus. But the unknown surrounding the virus has made confidently answering this question difficult. In this article, we’ve gathered the latest studies and reports to help provide you with information on whether or not an individual is susceptible to reinfection of COVID-19.

One Study Documents Coronavirus Reinfection

While we have much more to learn about the SARS-CoV2 virus, there has been one reported study documenting the ability for a so-called COVID-19 reinfection. That being said, outside of several reported claims of presumed reinfection, this is the only documented study of confirmed reinfection, and the conditions surrounding the case are still being analyzed. Here are the known details of that study:

The first documented case of a coronavirus reinfection was reported in Hong Kong. However, the 33-year-old male patient’s reinfection was asymptomatic, and his immune system was able to respond against the virus—preventing it from getting worse. When the genome of his virus was sequenced and isolated, doctors and specialists were able to find a slight variation in the infection, suggesting that the virus had mutated within the four months between the initial infection and reinfection. 

Okay, so what does this study mean? According to an infectious disease epidemiologist with the World Health Organization (WHO), scientists are learning that certain individuals can develop an immune response to the COVID-19 infection. This is how the body’s immune system should respond; however, in the case of COVID-19, it’s not yet clear how long that immune response will last and how strong it is. Research is also pending on whether people who have been infected with COVID-19 are developing antibodies (proteins in blood that fight the virus). According to the CDC, these serologic tests, surveys, and antibody studies are “helping answer other important questions about how COVID-19 infections are progressing…estimating how much of the population has not yet been infected, [and] helping public health officials plan for healthcare needs.”

Should You Worry About COVID-19 Reinfection?

Despite these findings, there is no need to panic. As of right now, it’s too early to draw conclusions, and there is not enough evidence or similarly documented studies to confirm the probability of COVID-19 reinfection. Without rigorous testing, it’s hard to tell how often reported situations like this are happening, especially since this study showed an asymptomatic response to reinfection. What we do know is that those who have recovered from coronavirus can continue to carry the virus for weeks—leading to positive test results without symptoms. For this reason, it’s imperative that the public continues to be mindful of social distancing ordinances and study the CDC’s resources to minimize the spread of the virus. 

Is It COVID-19 or the Flu?

With flu season around the corner, chances are people will start to confuse influenza symptoms with COVID-19 and vice versa. In these cases, one might think they have COVID-19 or a reinfection of the virus when they actually have a respiratory infection, strep, or the flu. For information about how you can spot the difference in symptoms, check out our article on coronavirus (COVID-19) vs. the flu. Cautious or not, it’s important to be mindful of your symptoms, know your risk level, and communicate your concerns with your primary care physician. If you’re experiencing emergency symptoms, call 911, and if you’re experiencing other symptoms commonly shared by both the flu and COVID-19, getting the testing and medical attention you need is as easy as contacting DispatchHealth. 

How DispatchHealth Is Responding to COVID-19

DispatchHealth’s on-demand, in-home services have quickly become an invaluable resource for anyone in need of an urgent healthcare alternative, particularly during the coronavirus crisis. We serve people of all ages with an array of complicated medical issues in the comfort of their homes, streamlining and personalizing acute healthcare services to meet your needs. In response to COVID-19, we’ve implemented safety regulations and provided protective gear to all of our staff—disinfecting cars, medical kits, and persons between every visit. We can also test for COVID-19 as well as treat and support COVID-19 patients. Requesting care is as easy as contacting us via phone, mobile app, or through our website.

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Learn more about how DispatchHealth is responding to COVID-19 by contacting us or clicking here to review our strategies. 

Sources

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200824/study-confirms-its-possible-to-catch-covid-twice
  2. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/some-people-can-get-pandemic-virus-twice-study-suggests-no-reason-panic
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/covid-19-reinfection-antibodies-immunity
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/coronavirus-reinfection.html
  6. https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/rounds/should-we-worry-about-covid-19-reinfection
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/about-epidemiology/studying-the-diesease.html 

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