Can You Get COVID-19 Twice?

Can you get COVID-19 twice? According to the CDC, it’s unlikely that you can get the virus twice. There isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove that someone can have COVID-19 again after the initial infection.

Immunity is Our Best Defense Against the Pandemic  

Many experts generally believe that your body should have some immunity if you had the coronavirus once. How much immunity you gain or how long immunity will last are the bigger questions.

The World Health Organization’s studies show that “people who have recovered from infection [COVID-19] have antibodies to the virus... However, some of these people have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood”. This means your body may not or cannot produce T-cells that would detect and kill other cells infected by COVID-19.

 

How Can Our Body Build Immunity?

Our bodies’ immune system comes in two parts:

●      The first line of defense

●      The second line of defense

When bad bacteria, parasites, or a virus invades your body, an internal alarm goes off--like a smoke detector. Once the alarm goes off, your first line of defense quickly tries to fight against the foreign pathogens--they're called innate immune cells. These cells will “immediately prevent the spread and movement of foreign pathogens throughout the body.”

When your first line of defense fails, your body deploys the second line.

Your second line of defense learns the behavior and experience of foreign invaders from the first time they entered the body. As this article states, “If the adaptive immune response is powerful enough, then it could leave a lasting memory of the infection that will give protection in the future”. Commonly known as T-cells and B-cells (lymphocytes), your adaptive immunity cells will learn how to better fight them off the next time they try to enter your body.

 

So, I Can Have Lifelong Immunity Against COVID-19?

It’s too early to know about short term or long term immunity as COVID-19 is still a new virus. Our research scientists do not have a clear, definite answer if antibodies can ever grant you lifelong immunity.

This is why it's very important to get your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available to you. When enough people receive the vaccine, then we will begin to see herd immunity. 

 

What About the People Who Re-tested Positive for COVID-19?

The WHO thinks people who are “re-infected” were probably given false results from the first time they tested:

●      A person who was infected was given a negative result;

●      OR, a person who was not infected but was given a positive result.

The reason for these false results is due the inconsistencies in some forms of testing and also to human error. Someone can misread the symptoms and not distinguish SARS-CoV-2 from other viruses like the common cold. 

The Bottom Line

We need more time to further research how to fight against COVID-19 -- and to make sure more people get vaccinated. In the meantime, continuing to wear a mask in public, practicing social distancing, and regularly washing your hands (or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water and soap are not available) is your best defense against the infection.