Global Statistics

All countries
547,115,085
Confirmed
Updated on June 23, 2022 8:27 pm
All countries
519,385,360
Recovered
Updated on June 23, 2022 8:27 pm
All countries
6,346,653
Deaths
Updated on June 23, 2022 8:27 pm

Global Statistics

All countries
547,115,085
Confirmed
Updated on June 23, 2022 8:27 pm
All countries
519,385,360
Recovered
Updated on June 23, 2022 8:27 pm
All countries
6,346,653
Deaths
Updated on June 23, 2022 8:27 pm
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How Many People Have Had Covid More Than Once

Do Omicron Reinfections Happen In A Shorter Space Of Time

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Potentially, yes. UKHSA data shows that for cases with a specimen date between 1 November and 29 December 2021 there were 2,855 probable reinfections 29 to 89 days after a previous infection although some of these may reflect ongoing detection from an initial infection.

While the UKHSA notes it is difficult to directly compare the situation between variants as there are many important changing factors at play, including overall levels of immunity in the population Omicrons immunity-dodging powers are likely to play a role in these reinfections.

It is not yet clear how well immune responses to Omicron protect against a second Omicron infection, or infections with new variants. I would expect the risk of a second Omicron infection is a lot lower than the risk of Omicron following Delta after all you have developed antibodies to the actual Omicron spike protein, said Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia.

Why Are More People Catching Covid Again

Part of it is Omicron itself – it’s better at sneaking past defences built on exposure to older and different variants.

It’s also partly a numbers game. So many of us have already been infected at some point, that a rising proportion of new infections are a second occurrence.

But getting Covid twice in a short space of time is still pretty unlikely, despite the prevalence of the latest version of Omicron.

And for most people a second infection is less likely to make them very ill.

Why Do Some People Test Positive Again

There are reports from different countries of people hospitalised with COVID-19 who tested negative when they were discharged, before testing positive again.

However, a study from China found those who retested positive didnt get any sicker. This suggests these people were intermittently shedding the virus and were at the tail end of their original illness, rather than getting a new COVID-19 infection.

The nasal and throat swab test being used to detect the virus also cant say whether the virus is alive or not therefore, they could have just been shedding dead virus. This could explain why their close contacts didnt become sick or test positive.

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New Data Show Those Who Recovered From Covid

For one, the first wave arrived in the U.S. more than a year ago. Perhaps enough time has passed that the immunity of some people infected early on has waned. Older people, for example, tend to have weaker immune responses though at this point, that population is increasingly vaccinated, giving them an even stronger immune boost against the virus.

Michigan was one of the states hit early in the U.S. last spring, for example, and is again experiencing one of the countrys biggest outbreaks. But experts there think second cases are not playing any major role in the states surge.

The large majority of what were seeing in Michigan is not reinfection, said Anurag Malani, an infectious disease physician at St. Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor.

Why Do Reinfections Happen

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The bodys immune response to a virus is multifaceted, with antibodies, B cells, and T cells working together to fight infection. Antibodies produced by B cells act as the frontline defense against infection, and stave off reinfection initially by keeping cells from becoming infected. T cells, meanwhile, destroy cells infected by a virus.

After the threat of a virus has passed, B and T cells die off and antibody levels in the body decline. Over time, that can allowa second infection to take hold, particularly if the virus has mutated, as the coronavirus has, to something less familiar to the body.

In addition, some people dont develop a robust immune response to an initial infection to begin with, something that makes vaccination more predictableprotection than natural immunity. So scientists say that if youve had the virus, you are less likely to be reinfected if you get the vaccine.

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How Is The New Version Of Omicron Different

This new “Spring” Omicron – known as BA.2 – drove UK infections back up to record levels.

This had fallen again to about one in 17 by the week ending 16 April.

“Spring” Omicron is similar to – but even more infectious than – “Christmas” Omicron .

If you’ve had Covid in the past few months, it’s likely to have been a version of Omicron, which in turn should give you good protection against a second bout.

The data we have so far suggest that a second Omicron infection is “rare, but can occur“. More reinfections have been seen among younger people and those who haven’t been vaccinated.

About 4.5 million people have had a Covid booster dose since the start of the year, with another two million getting their second dose.

And tens of millions of us have protection from a recent infection. About one in three of us caught Covid during the first Omicron wave.

Laboratory studies suggest that a combination of having had Omicron and being vaccinated could leave your body even better prepared to fight off a new infection than one infection alone.

What Is A Covid Breakthrough Case

You may have heard or seen the word COVID breakthrough case recently. This new term is used to describe reinfection in people who have been vaccinated. Yes, vaccines prevent infection for most people, but there is always a small chance you can still become infected, hence the name breakthrough.

The chances of experiencing a breakthrough case after becoming vaccinated are low, according to data from this past year. A study of 4 million fully vaccinated people determined there was a 1 in 5,000 chance of a breakthrough infection. Other studies are closer to 1 in 100, or 1 percent.

Inevitably, these figures vary depending on the state and region where COVID cases are more prominent than other areas. In New York where COVID was a hotbed for cases in 2020, there have been more than 175,000 confirmed breakthrough cases, which accounts for 1.4 percent of people aged 12 and over who are fully vaccinated. Likewise, in Virgina, the rate of infection from January 2021 to November 2021 was 1.15 percent for fully vaccinated people.

The goal of vaccines isnt necessarily to outright prevent COVID infections. Instead, its to reduce the seriousness of the infections and limit hospitalizations and death. In the case of breakthrough infections, fully vaccinated people tend to experience symptoms that are less severe and with a shorter duration.

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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.

Havent Had Covid Yet It Could Be More Than Just Luck

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Even taking into account people who have had COVID but didnt know it, theres still likely to be a group of people who have never been infected.

  • 19 May 2022

We all know a few of those lucky people who, somehow, have managed to avoid ever catching COVID. Perhaps youre one of them. Is this a Marvel-esque superpower? Is there any scientific reason why a person might be resistant to becoming infected, when the virus seems to be everywhere? Or is it simply luck?

More than 60% of people in the UK have tested positive for COVID at least once. However, the number of people who have actually been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be higher. The calculated rate of asymptomatic infections varies depending on the study, though most agree its fairly common.

But even taking into account people who have had COVID and not realised it, there is still likely a group of people who never have. The reason why some people appear immune to COVID is one question that has persisted throughout the pandemic. As with so much in science, there isnt one simple answer.

We can probably dismiss the Marvel-esque superpower theory. But science and luck likely both have a role to play. Lets take a look.

The simplest explanation is that these people have never come into contact with the virus.

Many of them continue to take precautions to avoid potential exposure to the virus. Even with additional safety measures, many of these people have ended up with COVID.

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Will The Latest Omicron Variant Make Me Sicker

So far, it seems that BA.2 is no more likely to put you in hospital than BA.1.

And even if you do test positive again, that “is not the same as being sick with Covid-19,” according to immunologist Prof Eleanor Riley. “It means there is virus in your nose and throat.”

The protection provided by vaccination or having had a previous infection is better at stopping the virus from getting into your body and doing serious damage, than it is at keeping the virus out of your nose and throat.

Prof Riley thinks if you test positive again but feel well, “your main concern should be whether you might pass it on to someone who is particularly vulnerable”.

An infection can still land some people in hospital, particularly those with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions.

But despite the high numbers of Covid infections, the current wave is putting fewer people in hospital than we saw in January, precisely because so many of us now have a combination of protection from vaccination and previous infections.

During January’s peak, about 55% of people in Covid beds in English hospitals were being treated mainly for their Covid. The most recent figures, for 5 April, say that figure is down below 45%.

And the total numbers of people in hospital with Covid are roughly half of what we saw in January 2021.

Is It Easier To Be Reinfected With Some Variants

In short, yes. According to scientists at Imperial College London, after taking into account a host of factors Omicron was associated with somewhere between a 4.38 and 6.63-fold higher risk of reinfection, compared with Delta.

The team add that this means protection against catching Covid arising from a previous infection within the past six months has fallen from about 85% before Omicron turned up to somewhere between 0% and 27%. The drop is not surprising given that Omicron has been found to have the ability to dodge the bodys immune responses to a significant degree.

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How Likely Are You To Catch Covid Twice

Eventually, pretty likely – immunity fades and viruses evolve.

Most people can expect to catch the other coronaviruses – such as those which cause common cold symptoms – many times.

Early in the pandemic, that didn’t seem to be the case with Covid.

Fewer than 1% of all cases recorded in the UK before November 2021 were reinfections.

But Omicron’s different structure gives it a better chance of sneaking past the body’s early defences, which were based on exposure to previous Covid strains.

So the rates of reinfection have been about 10 times higher this year compared with rates seen earlier in the pandemic.

If Youre Not Vaccinated Are You At Higher Risk Of Reinfection

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The COVID-19 vaccines are an important part of the fight against the pandemic. They are 85% to 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections, and you reach full immunity 1 to 4 weeks after you finish your vaccination, depending on which vaccine you get.

So, the vaccines prevent COVID-19 infections. But if you already had COVID, does getting vaccinated help prevent a second COVID-19 infection? We dont have exact data for this yet because not only are COVID-19 reinfections rare, so are infections after being vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommendation is to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if youve had an infection, because getting vaccinated creates a stronger immune response than natural immunity. Getting vaccinated can also help protect other vulnerable people who might not get fully protected from a COVID-19 vaccine, because you are less likely to spread COVID-19 to them.

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A Puzzling Plot Twist

Brodin agrees with Brugler Yonts that some cases described as having Long COVID actually have post intensive care syndrome, MIS-C, or MIS-A.

His research has focused on those who had milder COVID initially but, in a puzzling plot twist, later developed persistent symptoms. He sees those patients as belonging in one or more of three categories: autoimmune disease triggered by COVID, metabolic disease triggered by COVID, and long-term persistence of the virus.

Brodins autoimmune category aligns with Brugler Yonts dysautonomia category, as the disorder has been hypothesized to be autoimmune. And his long-term persistence of the virus category aligns with her ongoing viral activity category. In metabolic disease triggered by COVID, the bodys metabolism adapts during infection, leading to metabolic disturbance that persists.

Were looking at each and every one of the categories, Brodin said. As of now, there is scattered data supporting each, but nothing conclusive.

Researchers are beginning to refine nebulous Long COVID categories. But until they can nail down the biological causes, treatments will be limited to management of symptoms.

There are different pathologies at play, Brugler Yonts says. I dont think theres one process that is Long COVID in every single person. There are multiple processes going on, and once we can more solidly tease that out, it will lead to better ways to manage those patients and more focused pharmaceutical treatments.

Do Other Coronaviruses Generate Immunity

Four other types of human coronaviruses 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 cause about 15-30% of the common colds worldwide. Two of these OC43 and HKU1 are a subgroup of coronaviruses known as betacoronaviruses, as are SARS-CoV, MERS and SARS-CoV-2.

A study from 1990 found infection with human coronavirus 229E generated protective immunity from that particular virus. But one year later, as antibody levels declined, these people could be reinfected. The researchers hypothesised a cyclic pattern of infection, with people getting coronavirus infections every two to three years.

More recently, when researchers examined 128 samples from people who had recovered from SARS , they found 90% had strong neutralising antibodies, while 50% had positive T cell responses, meaning they were likely to be immune.

Those infected with SARS had some level of immunity. Shutterstock

Given this information about other coronaviruses, its likely that infection with SARS-CoV-2 provides some immunity from a second infection. But whether everyone becomes immune, and the duration of that immunity, are unknown.

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How Severe Are Covid

Generally, reinfections are milder than the initial infection regardless of which variants you’re infected with, the experts said.

And even if you are infected with a different variant the second time around, you shouldn’t necessarily expect more severe symptoms. That’s partly because, even if your antibodies aren’t able to muster enough protection against getting infected, the protection from your T-cells another major player in the immune system will still help protect you from the most severe consequences of the disease even if you get infected, Yang said.

“T-cells are not restricted by recognizing any one area of the spike,” he said. “They’re not really affected as much or at all by different variants. They should act just as well against omicron as against delta as against the prior variants.”

But Camins notes that what experts may define as a “mild” infection can still feel subjectively awful and, of course, cause disruptions in your daily life. “In most cases, the symptoms are less severe, meaning your likelihood of death or severe disease is lower,” he said. But if your symptoms cause you to miss work for a prolonged period of time or it takes you a few weeks to recover, “that’s still pretty significant” even if it doesn’t send you to the hospital.

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Already, there have already been several dozen documented reinfections around the world, though current numbers are almost certainly an undercount. If subsequent infections are indeed mild or asymptomatic, many of them will go undetected. It can also be difficult to establish two separate infections in the same person.

But so far, the available research suggests just a tiny subset of the more than 30 million people in the United States and 132 million globally whove had a confirmed Covid-19 case have become infected again. Studies indicate that the vast majority of people mount a robust and long-lasting immune response after being infected for the first time with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. A study that followed health care workers in U.K. for six months, for example, found that those who had an initial Covid-19 infection carried protective antibodies for the length of the study period the few who tested positive again generally had no symptoms . A study out of Denmark also found reinfections were rare, though they were more common in people 65 and up.

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