Due to the fact that COVID-19 has only been circulating for a little over a year, there are still many mysteries surrounding it. One of those is just how long an individual is immune to the virus after they are infected with it. Several months into the pandemic, it became clear that reinfection was a reality. However, now some researchers believe they have a deeper understanding of immunity post infection. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Immunity Is Fleeting
According to a new, not yet peer-reviewed study led by Public Health England (PHE) involving nearly 21,000 health care workers in the UK, those who are infected with COVID-19 can be reinfected within half a year—5 months to be exact. In other words, some people do catch the virus again. However, they did find that past infection was linked to an 83% lower risk of reinfection, compared to those yet to be infected.
"We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts," Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE and co-leader of the SIREN study, said in a statement.
"Even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections."
Those Immune Can Still Spread the Virus
The researchers did point out that immunity doesn't necessarily mean that an individual isn't a threat to the community. In fact, they may still be able to carry the virus in their nose or throat and therefore transmit it to others.
"We found people with very high amounts of virus in their nose and throat swabs, that would easily be in the range which would cause levels of transmission to other individuals," Hopkins revealed during an interview with the BBC's Today program on Thursday.
The Study Will Continue
The researchers will continue to monitor the group for 12 months to learn more about the length of immunity. However, with their current findings they are confident that those who were infected during the first wave of COVID-19 are at risk of reinfection.
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.