Current And Upcoming Covid
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Why People Are Getting Covid
Were seeing more reinfections now than during the first year of the pandemic, which is not necessarily surprising, Dr. Esper says.
The CDC says cases of COVID-19 reinfection remain rare but possible. And with statistics and recommendations changing so quickly and so frequently, that rare status could always change, as well.
Dr. Esper breaks down the reasons behind reinfection.
You May Still Be Able To Spread It
Remember, just because you feel fine doesnt mean youre in the clear and reinfection may not present the same as your first bout of COVID-19.
Your previous infection may prevent you from getting sick, but that doesnt necessarily mean that you cant become infected and spread it to others, Dr. Esper says. You might think youre safe because your antibodies are there, but if youre still able to spread it to others for a short period of time, youre still a risk to others.
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New Cdc Isolation Guidelines Were Issued Considering More Cases Of Omicron Are Expected Director Says
After the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance this week that shortens its recommended isolation period from 10 to five days for people who have tested positive for Covid-19 but don’t have symptoms, experts are split.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky defended the changes, saying she is “seeing and expecting even more cases of this Omicron variant” and that was a factor in the agency’s decision-making.
“Our guidance was conservative before. It had said 10 days of isolation. But in the context of the fact that we were going to have so many more cases, many of those would be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, people would feel well enough to be at work. They would not necessarily tolerate being home and they may not comply with being home,” she told CNN this morning.
The CDC also looked at the data around transmission, Walensky added.
“We know that the most amount of transmission occurs in the one to two days before you develop symptoms, those two to three days after you develop symptoms. If you map that out, those five days account for somewhere between 85% to 90% of all transmission that occurs. We really wanted to make sure that … the first five days were spent in isolation,” she said. “Of course there is this tail end period of time in the last five days where we are asking you to mask.”
Who Is At Risk Of Covid
By now, we know that anyone can get COVID-19 the vaccinated and unvaccinated, those who have had it already and those who havent. In the same vein, anyone can get COVID-19 again.
Its important to note that were still learning a lot about reinfections and whos at risk for those reinfections, Dr. Esper says. But doctors do know that some people are at higher risk of reinfection for COVID-19 than others.
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Why Do I Need The Vaccine If I’ve Already Had Covid
According to a study from Kentucky that was analyzed in the CDC report on COVID-19 reinfection, people who previously had COVID-19 were about twice as likely to get it again if they weren’t vaccinated, suggesting that the coronavirus vaccines are very effective even if you’ve already had the virus.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in August. “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.”
Weissenbach said that the strength of someone’s natural immunity from infection likely won’t last “over the long haul,” and that vaccination might provide better protection. This is because vaccines target a “particular reaction” from your immune system, he said.
“It’s done so in a very targeted and emphasized way so that it generally is going to be a more robust, lasting immune response than may otherwise be provided naturally through your body,” Weissenbach said. Think of it as a “double dose,” he said.
But research shows people who’ve already had COVID-19 strongly benefit from a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is not the case for people who haven’t been sick. According to an article in Nature, some people who’ve had COVID-19 and received just one vaccine shot mount immune responses equal to or greater than people who got both doses but never had COVID-19.
Is Reinfection More Likely With The Delta Variant
The delta variant is much more transmissible than past variants and experts think it might be causing more severe disease. According to a CDC presentation, reinfection rates with the delta variant might be higher than reinfection with the previously dominant alpha variant.
Weissenbach said that reinfection with viruses, including the coronavirus, is expected at some level. “Much like the flu virus mutates every year, we’re seeing different mutations among the circulating variants of COVID-19,” he said. So far, no variant has found a way around our vaccines, as they all continue to protect against severe disease and death caused by the coronavirus.
But the ever-evolving virus will continue to mutate and form new variants so long as a significant portion of the population remains unvaccinated or without immunity. As it does, experts fear there could be a variant that strips away protection from the initial vaccines.
Bottom line: “It’s worth re-emphasizing that the vaccines are safe and effective at providing a protective immune response against the virus,” Weissenbach said. “Inherently that benefit would minimize any risk of either initial infection or potential reinfection.”
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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Cdc Backs Expansion Of Covid Boosters For All Adults
Computer models in a recent study suggest that people who have been infected by the virus can expect a reinfection within a year or two if they do not wear a mask or receive a vaccination. The findings show that the risk of a second bout rises over time. A person has a 5% chance of catching the virus four months after an initial infection, but a 50% chance 17 months later.
“The second time it was scarier because I’m vaccinated,” says Vanessa referring to the family’s second bout with the virus in October 2021. “Her dad’s vaccinated. We’re protected in that sense, but she’s not.”
Her 8-year-old daughter was still too young to qualify for a vaccine. This fall the little girl lay in bed wheezing. Vanessa tripled down on Maricia’s asthma medication and the parents quarantined themselves inside, too. Vanessa shuddered at the prospect of telling her mother and grandma about a second round of positive test results.
First A Quick Recap About Antibodies
When we encounter an infection for the first time, our body needs to respond quickly to the threat. So within hours, it activates our innate immune system. This system is quick-acting but isnt targeted to the specific threat.
The innate immune systems attack distracts the infection while the body produces a more targeted but slower response against the infection, via the adaptive immune system.
The adaptive immune system produces antibodies to fight the infection. These are what we measure in the blood when trying to determine who has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The body produces different types of antibodies to respond to different parts of the virus. But only some have the ability to stop the virus entering cells. These are called neutralising antibodies.
According to the World Health Organisation, people who recover from COVID-19 develop antibodies in their blood. But some people appear to have low levels of neutralising antibodies.
Regular blood tests cant tell us everything we need to know about COVID-19 immunity. Shutterstock
To see if an antibody is a neutralising antibody, you need to do special laboratory tests to see the effect of the antibody in cells exposed to the virus.
But even if an antibody blood test could confirm neutralising antibodies, it doesnt automatically mean the person is immune from further infection. Even though the antibody is present, for example, the quantities may be insufficient to work.
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Can You Get Sick From A Variant If Youve Already Had Covid
The coronavirus variants that we know about that are currently circulating have some mutations in their genetic codes and some deletions. It’s not clear yet exactly what the chances are that you could get sick from a coronavirus variant if you’re already had Covid-19.
Its probably happening to a certain degree, but getting it again probably isn’t the main reason infection numbers go up. On how likely you are to be infected with a variant after you’ve had Covid already: We dont have firm numbers on that, says virologist Andy Pekosz, Ph.D., professor and vice-chair of the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. But he points to cases in South Africa and Brazil, where variants have been detected in large numbers. We think reinfection may be more likely with variants that evade immune responses, but we dont have a clear picture of exactly how frequently thats going to be occurring, he adds.
Cdc Director Hopes Boosters For 12
From CNN’s Naomi Thomas
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on CNNs New Day Wednesday that she hopes for coronavirus vaccine boosters for 12- to 15-years-olds in the days to weeks ahead, but vaccines for children younger than 5 will take longer.
The first thing to note is to get your children vaccinated, Walensky said, noting that vaccines are available for people as young as 5.
The FDA is currently looking at the issue of booster shots for those 12 to 15, and I know that the companies and manufacturers are working towards data for children under five. That will not be in the month ahead, but were working hard to get there soon, she said.
Asked about the timeline for boosters for younger people, Walensky said the FDA is looking at that right now. Of course, the CDC will swiftly follow as soon as we hear from them and Im hoping to have that in, you know, the days to weeks ahead.
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Does Testing Positive Twice Mean I’ve Definitely Been Reinfected
Not necessarily, especially if you’re tested within three months of first getting sick, according to Weissenbach. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, tests negative and then tests positive again, it’s likely due to viral shedding of the original virus, he said.
“Many viruses can shed for quite some time after the illness has subsided,” Weissenbach said. True reinfection with COVID-19 means that someone was infected with the virus on two different occasions, usually months apart. Long COVID-19, a syndrome that some people develop after having the coronavirus, is also not a reinfection or active infection.
In the waiting room at the doctors’ office, signs on every chair ask that patients refrain from sitting.
The First Time I Got Covid
The first time I got COVID, hipster that I am, was right when it started trending. It was in March 2020, the first week of lockdown. Back then, we were so young and dumb. There were barely any COVID tests available to the general public . Losing your sense of taste and smell was just a rumored symptom.
Lucien, who uses he/they pronouns, got it for the first time in February 2021. They attribute this to their large apartment building where few people wear masks.
As I lay on my couch and felt like I couldnt move, my partner at the time zipped around me, making jokes and playing music, full of nervous energy. I had a splitting headache that I thought was a migraine. I suggested I may have The Novel Coronavirus, but my partner convinced me it was just anxiety about the world ending. Fair enough. But then I accidentally smashed a bottle of perfume on my bathroom floor and it smelled like nothing.
Lucien also had a high fever and contemplated going to the hospital that first time, but they opted to just eat a bunch of Tylenol and try to sleep it off. Luckily, that worked.
A couple months later, my sense of smell had returned and I tested positive for antibodies. My live-in partner, for whatever reason, did not.
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Is A Cloth Mask Still Okay If That Is All A Parent Can Find For Their Child
Dr. Dumois: Yes, because a cloth mask is going to be better than no mask if a cloth mask is all they can find or get their child to wear. A two-layer cloth mask is better than a single layer. Not all cloth masks are the same, so thats something they can look for two layers of fabric.
Related: Your Guide to Masks by the Centers for Disease Control
Are You Only At Risk Of Reinfection Due To New Variants Of Covid
New variants are a big concern for reinfection. Scientists are finding new variants that your immune system might not recognize. Worse, many of the new variants are more infectious than the initial COVID-19 virus. So there are definitely reasons to be concerned about new variants.
The question of whether you can be reinfected by the same strain of COVID-19, and how likely it is, is up in the air. COVID-19 is a coronavirus, and other types of coronaviruses that infect humans exist, usually causing mild cold-like illnesses. These other types of coronaviruses circulate throughout the population. Once you get infected, you are only immune for a year or two. After that, you can be reinfected.
Its not clear if the COVID-19 virus will be the same it will take time for us to know for sure. Its possible that we will see more cases of reinfection as time passes, because the protective immune response people get after the first infection with COVID-19 might disappear.
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If I’m Sick How Long Should I Wait To Get The Vaccine
According to this Q& A with Dr. Jennifer Pisano, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Chicago Medicine who also had COVID-19 and is now vaccinated, you can get the vaccine anytime after you’re no longer infectious or in quarantine.
People who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as treatment for COVID-19, however, should wait 90 days before getting the vaccine, according to the CDC. It’s recommended to wait if you’ve received monoclonal antibodies as treatment because they prevent your body from forming a robust immune response to the vaccine, according to a Cleveland Clinic report.
People with multisystem inflammatory syndrome should also consider delaying vaccination until they’re no longer sick, the CDC says.
It’s hard to say whether COVID-19 symptoms such as dry cough and headache get worse or better with a second infection.
Are Antibodies Different After Infection Compared To Vaccination
Yes. And researchers donât yet understand what these differences mean.
It seems to come down to a question of quality versus quantity. Vaccines seem to produce higher peak antibody levels than natural infections do. But these antibodies are highly specialized, able to recognize only the parts of the virus they were designed to target.
âThe mRNA vaccine directs all the immune responses to the single spike protein,â says Alice Cho, PhD, who is studying the differences in vaccine and infection-created immunity at The Rockefeller University in New York. âThereâs a lot more to respond to with a virus than there is in a vaccine.â
During an infection, the immune system learns to recognize and grab onto many parts of the virus, not just its spike.
The job of remembering the various pieces and parts of a foreign invader, so that it can be quickly recognized and disarmed should it ever return, falls to immune cells called memory B cells.
Memory B cells, in turn, make plasma cells that then crank out antibodies that are custom tailored to attach to their targets.
Antibody levels gradually fall over a few monthsâ time as the plasma cells that make them die off. But memory B cells live for extended periods. One study that was attempting to measure the lifespan of individual memory B cells in mice, found that these cells probably live as long as the mouse itself. Memory B cells induced by smallpox vaccination may live at least 60 years — virtually an entire lifetime.
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