Is it possible to get Covid infection twice? Discussing the reasons for reinfection and time-gap
We have already entered the second half of 2023 and 2020 seems like a long time ago for many people. The world is finally moving on from one of the worst global pandemics it has ever witnessed. The losses faced by people at a personal and professional level across the globe have left a permanent mark that will take more time to fade away if it ever does. One of the key questions that people tend to still ask is whether it is possible to cure Covid infection twice. As an extension, some of the other related questions include the chances of Covid-19 infection after complete vaccination and the time duration between Covid infection.
Although it is safe to say that the research community worldwide is still studying the ever-changing patterns of Covid-19 and its variants (there are quite a few!), what we do know for sure is that it is possible to get Covid infection twice. One of the most recent studies conducted by Nežana Medić et al. in Serbia concluded the rate of Covid-19 reinfection was around 5.49%.
We know that maybe this is not something you wanted to hear, but the facts cannot be denied. However, there is something less worrisome about this news. The same report also concluded that almost 99.17% of reinfection cases registered mild symptoms which means that the chances of the second infection being as severe as the first one are relatively less. However, another study that The Guardian talks about, claims that people with reinfection were at a higher mortality risk along with showing adverse health-related responses. It can be confusing because every person has a different response to the virus which is what makes it more difficult to curb.
As a matter of fact, twice is not the only number of times one can get reinfected by the Virus. There can be more than 2 times that a person has to go through the same excruciating pain and the science community mainly blames the Omicron variant of the original virus.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine stated that out of a pool of 27,479 Covid-19 patients, around 14.9% were infected by the Omicron variant. Out of this lot, nearly 13% of the Omicron patients showed Covid infection twice. The same rate in patients with the Alpha variant was 0.46% and for the Delta variant, the rate of Covid reinfection was 1.16%.
None of us are new to the term Omicron variant. At some point, we have wondered when the phase of the Omicron peak will get over. The original virus has undergone multiple mutations and eventually, it led to the Omicron variant. At its peak, which was in the first half of 2022, Hindustan Times reports suggested that this variant could infect nearly 60% of the world’s population. The reason for its extremely highly contagious attribute was its ability to disguise itself. It could very efficiently hide from a body’s immune system and showcases higher bonding capacity to the host receptor, as concluded by researchers at John Hopkins.
To understand the reasons for getting Covid infection twice or more times, let’s start from the beginning.
When a person is infected with the Covid-19 virus (any variant), it directly target’s the body’s immune system. So, if you are someone with strong immunity, chances are your body will start fighting the virus. With the help of medication and other timely therapies, you can successfully beat the virus. The only problem is that before leaving the body completely, the virus manages to successfully weaken your immune system. This is why the recovery time is more for patients. It may take more than a few weeks or months to completely recover.
With such a weakened internal system, if you come in contact with the virus again, what do you think your body’s response would be? If the previous infection was a few months ago, there is a chance the patient’s body may not react to the incoming invasion. But there is also a chance that you may get reinfected.
This is exactly how Covid infection can occur multiple times.
Some of the basic reasons for you getting Covid infection twice are:
- Prolonged exposure to patients with Covid-19 infection
- Being a patient with other medical conditions that affect your immune system
- Living in poorly ventilated spaces
- Virus evolution causes the emergence of a new variant that can beat the body’s immune system
So, while it is possible to get Covid infections multiple times, currently, the impact of Covid-19 is under control. In May 2023, the World Health Organization said the virus did not qualify anymore as a world health emergency.
People across the globe, the healthcare industry, pharmaceutical companies, government institutes, and every private or public sector company providing raw materials or managing the supply chain have played a crucial role in managing the virus’s spread. The mass vaccination drives can be attributed as the leading way in which the virus could either be contained or humans could be armored to fight the virus.
If you are one of the majority who has undertaken both vaccinations along with the booster dose and wondering if it is possible to get Covid infection twice, well, the answer remains ‘Yes’. The chances of reinfection are low and the probability of the body fighting the virus in case you get reinfected is high. The issue is the unpredictable nature of the virus and individual immune response to the infection.
What is the minimum duration between two periods of infection?
After the first infection period, the patient’s body develops immune skills that can fight the virus. This immune response stays in the body for some time, and you may not contract the virus in the coming weeks. However, with time, the protection decreases, and it is possible to get reinfected after a couple of months. There is also a possibility that you may get reinfected within a week of the first infection.
Information that we currently possess about the virus continues to evolve. Researchers are still studying the cause and effect of the virus along with several other related topics. As time passes, we may have more concrete information, but until then, we should be alert against Covid infection.
0There is always a risk of getting Covid infection twice or more times. All we can do, as responsible citizens, is work on your mental and physical health, undertake both vaccinations and booster doses if needed, eat healthily, and respond quickly to any signs of physical discomfort.