SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Over 297,000 Utahns are considered recovered from COVID-19 and many think that means they’re immune to the virus but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that immunity may be short-lived.
Imagine suffering through the severe symptoms of COVID-19 and recovering…only to get infected again.
“We definitely have seen reinfections,” Intermountain Healthcare infectious disease specialist Dr. Eddie Stenehjem said Thursday. “Many times it’s really hard to distinguish between reinfection and prolonged viral shedding but absolutely we’ve seen a number of cases where even with a very scrutinizing eye that I have been convinced that there have been reinfections and some of those reinfections have been severe.”
The reason may be that the antibodies that fight the virus decline over time. The CDC studied 156 healthcare workers who had COVID-19 and 146 of them showed a decline in the level of antibodies when retested 60 days later. Moreover, 44 of the participants, 28%, had no detectable antibodies 60 days after recovery but Dr. Stenehjem is confident that immunity after recovery lasts much longer than two months.
“The data up to this point suggests the vast majority of people that have been infected are quote-unquote immune from a second infection for at least six to eight months,” he said. “There’s always exceptions to that rule so it’s not going to be a hundred percent. You’re always going to see some exceptions of people falling out of that and getting reinfected.”
Dr. Stenehjem says that people who have recovered from COVID-19 still need to get vaccinated.
To read more on the CDC study, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6947a2.htm.
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