For the first time since the discovery of Covid-19, scientists have confirmed the first case of reinfection in the United States and the fifth case worldwide.
The unnamed 25-year-old Nevada man fell ill with coronavirus with only six weeks between each infection. According to a case study published in the medical journal The Lancet, the patient originally tested positive in April with a few minor symptoms and then tested negative at the beginning of May. However, after going to an urgent care center with severe symptoms at the end of May, the man tested positive for Covid-19 once more in early June.
“The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first,” notes the published study.
While the second infection was much worse, the patient was lucky to survive both rounds of infection. And scientists aren’t sure exactly why the second infection was so much more severe, considering anti-bodies should hypothetically combat the virus more effectively if an exposed person is exposed again.
Not much is still known about Covid-19 to begin with, let alone reinfection. It’s difficult for scientists to confirm repeat cases, as the nasal swabs from both the first and second positive tests must be used to compare the genomes of the virus sample. But because only the well-funded or overly-advanced hospitals and laboratories have the equipment and employees needed to analyze the swabs for possible reinfection. At this point, it’s safe to say most cases of reinfection are going undetected thanks to this.
This case may sound shocking, but it’s not the first case of reinfection in the world. If anything, it underscores the importance of social distancing, wearing a mask, and taking care to follow the precautions set in place by lawmakers and individual businesses. Even if you were already infected, it’s clear that no one is immune from catching the virus, regardless if you’re someone who has already had it or the President of the United States. To avoid possible (re)infection, the best thing to do is to follow precautions and remain vigilant.