WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- After first contracting the coronavirus and recovering, a 25-year-old man gets reinfected after six weeks.
- He is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the USA and the fifth in the world.
- Continuing to practice social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands even after recovery can reduce the risk of reinfection.
A 25-year old resident of Washoe County, Nevada, is now the first case of COVID-19 reinfection in the US and the fifth in the world.
With just six weeks’ distance between infections, the man suffered a more severe case with the reinfection.
When he first contracted the virus, he had mild symptoms of fever, coughing, and dizziness. With his symptoms easing off, and even testing negative twice, he started feeling better.
But then the symptoms came back with additional shortness of breath after only six weeks. This time, according to the scientist who is studying his case, the second infection “was symptomatically more severe than the first,” requiring him to be hospitalized.
The man has already recovered.
Worldwide, there are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 reinfection. There have been unconfirmed cases in the U.S. but this is the first to be backed up by scientific study. The man was infected by two different COVID-19 viruses having “significant differences” in their genetic codes, according to the study scientists.
“These findings suggest that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 on two separate occasions by a genetically distinct virus. Thus, previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might not guarantee total immunity in all cases,” the study authors explained.
This brings attention to the fact that even if those who have been infected have already developed a better immune response to fight the virus with their antibodies, some can still be reinfected, although rarely.
From this study it can also be gleaned that wearing masks, washing hands with soap and water, and practicing social distancing even after recovery can still prevent the possibility of reinfection.
“All individuals, whether previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, should take identical precautions to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2,” the study authors advised.