Can I get the coronavirus twice?
It seems like a possibility, although how often it happens is unknown.
Researchers in Hong Kong recently reported evidence of a person falling ill with coronavirus a second time, months after the first.
The finding has not yet been published in any specialized journal. But scientists point out that the 33-year-old man had mild symptoms the first time and was asymptomatic the second, suggesting that his immune system may have provided some protection against the serious disease even though it could not prevent a second infection. The second infection was detected in checkpoints at the Hong Kong airport, and the researchers said genetic testing revealed different strains of the virus.
Several more possible cases have been reported, including that of an American man who was more serious the second time than the first.
Even though people can get the disease more than once, the World Health Organization says this is not likely to happen on a regular basis.
Health experts generally believe that people who have overcome Covid-19 will have some kind of immunity against reinfection. But they don’t know how much protection or how long it lasts.
This is important because the potential loss of immunity could pose a challenge for vaccines. Some experts say that booster shots may be needed.
It is also not clear that reinfected people can transmit the disease. This is another reason why scientists say that the population should continue to wear a mask, maintain social distance and follow good hygiene practices.