We are entering into a new stage in the Covid-19 pandemic that we have all lived with for more than 2 years now. All of the main regulations and restrictions that have existed in the UK’s nations are being lifted. In February, all of the main restrictions were lifted in England, and Northern Ireland shortly followed suit. While Wales and Scotland will both be lifting theirs in March.
Despite this seemingly positive end to the country’s coronavirus plight, the virus continues to spread among the country’s population. In the seven days before March 4th, there was 255,864 cases reported and 710 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. The most prolific and dominant variant of Covid-19, Omicron, causes less serious illness but is more easily transmitted, which means people are more likely to be reinfected.
In fact, data recorded by the UKHSA or UK Health Security Agency in December highlighted that approximately one in every 10 people who had the Omicron variant had contracted the coronavirus previously.
What are your chances of reinfection and what should you know about reinfection? That’s what we are going to discuss below.
Is it Possible to Get Back-to-Back Cases of Covid-19?
Reinfection is officially defined as being when someone tests positive for the virus over 90 days after they previously tested positive.
Any tests that return a positive result within 90 days of a previous positive test are considered part of the same episode of infection.
That basically means that any accurate data related to how many people have actually contracted the virus more than one time in a period less than 90 days long are not available.
There is evidence from research that suggests immunity, which is created by infection, could last as long between three months and several years, which means it is unlikely, but also not impossible, to quickly catch the virus back-to-back.
The Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases based at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Tennessee, Dr William Schaffner, noted that there are people who believe that once you have had a natural infection, you benefit from permanent protection against Covid-19 in the same way you would against something like measles.
However, that does not consider the fact that both viruses that cause the infections are different. Protection against coronavirus diminishes naturally over time.
According to data, fully vaccinated people have less of a chance of catching the virus twice compared to those who aren’t.
How Quickly Can You Catch Covid-19 Again?
Whether you get it from vaccination or illness, immunity provides a certain degree of Covid-19 reinfection protection. Your body naturally produces antibodies, that recognises the virus as dangerous, triggering your immune system to fight it.
There is an increasing number of studies has found that the immunity begins to waiver within just a few months, though vaccination jabs continue to provide you with good protection, particularly from the more serious cases.
With the Pfizer vaccination, the initial protection provided against infection for a month, once the second dose was 88%, there was a study that found that after between five and six months, the protection reduced to 74%, suggesting that protection fell by 14% points within 4 months.
A study conducted by the Yale School of Public Health in October 2021 reported unvaccinated people should have a level of immunity against being reinfected for between three and 61 months.
How Long Does It Take To Test Positive?
Most people stop will generally stop testing positive for Covid-19 within around 10 days once they start to experience Covid-19 symptoms or receive the first positive test they have taken.
It’s possible to continue having positive test results for weeks or even many months once they have contracted the virus. This is why the reinfections only get counted after 90 days.
It is unlikely, however, for people to continue being contagious during this time.
Viral RNA fragments often remain within bodies long after the actual virus and infection have cleared from the system. That is according to a report issued by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance.