The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a widespread transmission worldwide, causing an alarming number of deaths. Since its onset, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has mutated into distinct strains as an RNA virus. Vaccination and coronavirus testing schemes are the best options to help develop immunity against the virus. However, scientists, including health officials, expressed their concerns about potential covid-19 reinfections reinfection cases, which is critical to understand for future health policy guidelines.
Initially, it was thought that people who recovered from coronavirus infection develop a robust immune system response and develop protective immunity. Yet, it all changed when the first case of documented reinfection of COVID-19 was made known to the public, and since then, its numbers have continuously increased.
What is COVID-19 reinfections?
Reinfection happens if an individual becomes infected with COVID-19 and later becomes infected again after enough time has passed. People are classified to have reinfection should they receive a new positive Covid-19 test result more than 90 days after their last infection.
The UK has recently started publishing data on reinfections on its COVID dashboard. Accordingly, from February 6, 2022, over 14.5 million primary infections and 620,000 reinfections were reported in England. It means there is one infection for every 24 primary infections. Furthermore, over 50% of reinfections are revealed in late 2021, suggesting that the risk of reinfection is heightened and increased due to the Omicron variant.
On the other hand, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) measures reinfection cases differently. They count someone as reinfected if they underwent 120 days or four consecutive negative PCR tests between the positive tests confirming their two cases.
Why are people getting COVID twice?
Like immunity to any other viruses such as cold, which people can get multiple times, immunity to COVID-19 fades over time. According to the study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Imperial College London, Omicron is revealed to be five times more likely to infect people compared to the Delta variant.
The research has also shown that Omicron has the more significant potential to get past defenses built by previous variants and from two vaccine doses. With this study and data presented, ministers understand the significance of booster jab – thought to protect 55 to 80% of symptomatic cases.
Are COVID-19 reinfections more severe than the initial infection?
People who have been fully vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19 experience less severe symptoms than those infected who do not have any immunity against the virus. Therefore, it is safe to assume that reinfections are less severe than initial infections, as reinfected individuals have had some pre-existing immunity.
Additionally, some people have been vaccinated between their infections, further raising their immunity level. Still, it is essential to note that the experience from the initial and latter infections depends on when you get infected or what variant they are likely infected with the second time.
Do reinfections strengthen immunity?
Yes. Even a single prior infection can protect against disease with COVID-19 and omicron variant as two doses of vaccine, making it reasonable to assume that reinfections will also boost immunity. But such immunity does not have a 100% guarantee of protection. It is still imperative to take extra caution and be responsible when adhering to safety measures in preventing the spread and transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Are you looking for a testing provider?
Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.